edit EDITS

Buildings are key in supporting human activities and well-being by providing shelter and other important services to their users. Buildings are, however, also responsible for major energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during their life cycle. Improving the quality of services provided by buildings while reaching low energy demand (LED) levels is crucial for climate and sustainability targets. Building sector models have become essential tools for decision support on strategies to reduce energy demand and GHG emissions. Yet current models have significant limitations in their ability to assess the transformations required for LED. We review building sector models ranging from the subnational to the global scale to identify best practices and critical gaps in representing transformations toward LED futures. We focus on three key dimensions of intervention (socio-behavioral, infrastructural, and technological), three megatrends (digitalization, sharing economy, and circular economy), and decent living standards. This review recommends the model developments needed to better assess LED transformations in buildings and support decision-making toward sustainability targets.

This open access paper is a collaborative effort by the EDITS network that Prayas (Energy Group) is a part of. The paper and associated supplementary materials can be accessed at https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-environ-112321-102921