Society & Community Sustainable Cities & Communities Sustainable Urban Planning

Five planet-saving building ideas we need to nail down in 2020

Sustainable Urban Planning


The world of buildings – responsible for about 40% of all carbon – offers relatively uncontroversial opportunities to reduce emissions, create new jobs and produce more livable built environments. Five solutions are discussed that should interest policy-makers.

Perspectives and insights

  • While energy-efficiency measures such as solar panels and triple pane windows can be added to existing buildings to reduce emissions, a structure made out of concrete and steel will never recoup the carbon used to make those materials.
  • An intractable problem involves unlocking the financial incentive for homeowners and landlords to invest in energy retrofits.
  • Prefabricated buildings are increasingly being perceived as sustainable solutions for construction projects due to the growing usage of materials, such as timber and aluminum composites, that are more energy-efficient than concrete.