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Deep Decarbonization of New Buildings

February 2018

Citation: ELR 10130

Author: Lee Paddock and Caitlin McCoy

New buildings constructed today can be expected to remain in use well beyond 2050. As a result, thoughtful decisions now can have a significant impact on reducing the carbon footprint of buildings for decades to come. Buildings use about 40% of energy produced in the United States and are responsible for about 30% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, making carbon emissions from buildings a priority for reduction. Substantial progress has been made in making new buildings more energy efficient, and technology is available that would allow for major additional reductions. But much more needs to be done in the new building sector to reach the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) goals for carbon reduction. This Article discusses the changes that need to occur and sets out recommendations to help accomplish the DDPP’s carbon reduction goals.

LeRoy (Lee) C. Paddock is Associate Dean for environmental law studies at George Washington University Law School. Caitlin McCoy is a Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Environmental Program Fellow at George Washington University Law School.

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