04 March 2024
Session – Buildings and Climate Global Forum- Passive design for Cooling and Heating: Resilient buildings

Date: 7 March 2024                                        Time: 14:30 – 15:45 CET                                  Event Language: English

Format: In-person                                           Location: Paris, France

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

Partners: Passive House Institute, International Passive House Association, UNEP Cool Coalition



Energy efficiency is a key lever for meeting climate targets in the building sector. And a key mechanism to achieving energy efficiency is “passive design” and a fabric first approach. The question is not so much “why” energy efficiency and passive design are needed but “how” to achieve and establish it as part of general design and construction practices. This is relevant both for heating dominated climates, as well as climates with cooling needs.

In the context of cooling: To cope with the rising temperatures, many people resort to using air conditioning, which can provide comfort and relief, but also has negative impacts on the environment and the energy system. Air conditioning accounts for about 10% of global electricity consumption, and its use is expected to triple by 2050. This can increase greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to global warming, and create peak demand problems for the power grid.

Therefore, there is a need to find alternative and sustainable ways to heat and cool buildings and cities, without relying on fossil fuels. One of the most promising solutions is energy efficiency through passive design, i.e. appropriate design and construction of buildings that can maintain comfortable indoor temperatures with significantly reduced energy input. Passive design can also enhance the thermal performance and resilience of buildings, helping occupants survive more extreme weather trends, reduce the energy demand and costs, and improve the indoor air quality and comfort.

This event responds to the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in GHG emissions in line with 1.5C pathways taking action in energy efficiency through showcasing the latest developments and best practices in passive design technologies and strategies, ranging from vernacular and easy to implement passive techniques to reduce cooling demand (e.g. cool roofs, shading, ventilation, insulation, thermal mass concepts) to the highly energy efficient passive house standards (a whole house performance based energy standard leading to extremely low heating and cooling needs). The event could also highlight the benefits and challenges of implementing passive design practices in different contexts and climates, as well as the policy and regulatory frameworks that can support its adoption and scaling up.

A key feature of the event is the commitment sought from the design team, which includes architects, engineers, software developers, and trainers. The session could pledge to prioritize passive solutions in their projects and ensure that their training courses include skills in passive design. The session could also mobilize the entire design value chain, from clients to contractors, to promote and apply passive design principles and techniques. The event could inspire them to create buildings that are not only energy-efficient and low-carbon, but also resilient and adaptive to the changing climate.



  • To discuss and summarize big picture potentials, benefits and significance of passive design for both cooling and heating
  • To outline key mechanisms that support and enable fast and scalable action for energy efficient buildings through passive design
  • To share best practice solutions and available resources in order to enable and encourage replication
We Will: Efficient, Climate-Friendly Cooling for All
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