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A new report released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says that the right mix of government regulation, energy saving technologies and behavioral change can reduce global-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the building sector. The building sector, the report notes, accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of total energy use.

“The savings that can be made right now are potentially huge and the costs to implement them relatively low if sufficient numbers of Governments, industries, businesses and consumers act,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said of the measures that range from revamping ventilation systems to replacing the traditional incandescent light bulb.

“By some conservative estimates, the building sector worldwide could deliver emission reductions of 1.8 billion tonnes of C02. A more aggressive energy efficiency policy might deliver over 2 billion tonnes or close to three times the amount scheduled to be reduced under the Kyoto Protocol,” he added, referring to the pact setting legally binding emission reduction targets for 35 industrialized countries in the 2008-2012 period.

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