PARIS - A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows how existing heating and cooling technologies that are energy efficient and that emit little or no carbon dioxide can substantially reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions within residential, commercial, and public buildings, a sector that currently accounts for around one-third of total energy consumption.

The IEA Technology Roadmap report, “Energy-efficient Buildings: Heating and Cooling Equipment,” shows how technologies such as solar thermal, heat pumps, thermal energy storage, and combined heat and power (CHP) for buildings have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2 gigatons by 2050 - around a quarter of today’s emissions from buildings - and save 710 million tons oil equivalent of energy by 2050. Much of the potential energy savings identified in the report could be achieved rapidly, both because the required technologies are available today and because heating and cooling equipment is typically replaced between 7 and 30 years - much more rapidly than the buildings themselves, which may last 30 to 100 years or more.

“Energy efficiency and CO2-free technologies for heating and cooling in buildings offer many low-cost options for reducing energy consumption, consumers’ energy bills, and CO2 emissions in buildings, with technologies that are available today. Given that space heating and cooling and hot water production consume perhaps half of all energy consumed in buildings today, the savings potential is very large,” said Bo Diczfalusy, the IEA’s director of sustainable energy policy and technology.

The IEA report provides an overview of the current status of different mature, commercially available heating and cooling equipment, as well as emerging technologies. It charts a course for expanding the deployment of these technologies to 2050 with the ambitious goal of completely transforming the market for heating and cooling in buildings.

This report is the latest in the IEA’s series of technology roadmaps, which aim to guide governments and industry on the actions and milestones needed to achieve the potential for a wide range of clean energy technologies. For more information, visit

Publication date:06/20/2011