04 March 2024
Session – Buildings and Climate Global Forum- Efficient Buildings as Key players in the Energy System

Date: 7 March 2024                                        Time: 12:15 – 13:30 CET                                  Event Language: English

Format: In-person                                           Location: Paris, France

Organized by: Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion & Ministry of Energy Transition, France; Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC) – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Partners: IEA, IRENA, WBCSD, PNNL, UNEP, REN21, UNECE, UNEP Cool Coalition



Buildings account for about one third of the world’s final energy use and are key to achieving net zero emissions by mid-century. In order to play their role in the transition to net zero, buildings must transform from being passive and inefficient energy consumers into active participants in the energy system.

It means, first of all, making buildings as energy efficient as possible by improving the performance of buildings envelopes and efficiency of appliances and district energy systems. Related measure can more than halve demand for space heating and cooling by mid-century globally. Secondly, buildings can also become a home for various distributed energy resources, such as on-site renewable energy production  and storage, smart charging for electric cars and other connected devices, to support the transition of the global energy system away from fossil fuels.  

Buildings can also offer various flexibility benefits to the electricity system. Efficiency allows reducing the overall energy demand of buildings while providing the same or higher quality of energy services and avoiding oversizing of renewable energy systems and storage. If buildings are equipped and enabled to receive the signals from the grid and respond by adjusting their energy demand by means of digital technologies, such demand response can help shifting buildings’ electricity use away from peak hours or even temporarily stopping it. It will become particularly important as the number of distributed energy resources and variable renewable electricity generation increase, putting pressure on existing grids. District energy systems with large-scale heat pumps and cogeneration combined with thermal storage and waste heat and free cooling can also play a critical role in balancing the energy system in an integrated model. 

Efficient, grid-interactive buildings present a significant potential for buildings to transition from energy-intensive consumers to energy efficient and low-carbon prosumers supported by digital technologies that can enable them to produce, consume, store, sell and buy energy through interactions with the grid in an optimised manner. The integration of these measures can offer significant benefits for energy systems in terms of reducing energy use and demand during peak hours, increasing grid flexibility, providing more control to end-users over their energy consumption, along with other benefits.

This event will showcase the challenges and opportunities for buildings to become integral parts of efficient, smart, low-carbon energy systems, as well as to identify the key actions and commitments needed to accelerate this process. The event features high-level speakers from the public and private sectors, as well as representatives from international organizations, academia and civil society. 



  • To identify key technological and policy enablers for efficient grid-interactive buildings, including measures for improving energy efficiency, decarbonisation, electrification and interaction with the electricity grid and a larger energy system
  • To discuss main barriers for implementation of these solutions for integrating buildings into smart and low-carbon energy systems and some of the existing best-practices around the world 
  • To develop a holistic and systemic approach to incorporating the identified enablers into the policy-making process, involving all the relevant stakeholders from the building industry and energy sector.
We Will: Efficient, Climate-Friendly Cooling for All
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