The Path to Drawdown: High-Performance Glass
Buildings and construction account for 38% of global CO2 emissions and 35% of energy use. Much of this energy-use is the result of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting, information and communications systems, security and access systems, fire alarms, elevators, appliances, and indirectly through plumbing.
In most buildings, some of the energy used in heating and cooling the interior goes to waste through windows. Windows, even when closed, are much less efficient than insulated walls at keeping room temperature in and outside temperature out - by a factor of ten or more.
High-performance glass solves this by replacing conventional plain glass. High-performance glass uses any of several technologies that can reduce heat flow through glass, including multiple layers, low-emissivity glass, tinted glass, and vacuum glazing.
High-performance glass is already widely adopted in wealthy countries. In the rest of the world, a faster and wider installation of high-performance glass can help reduce a substantial amount of GHG emissions by 2050:
- <::marker> In 2018, 5 billion square meters of high-performance glass were installed in residential buildings, and 130 million sq. meters in commercial buildings
- <::marker> By 2050, 13.7 billion sq meters should be installed in residential buildings and 7.5 billion sq meters in commercial buildings
If this scale can be achieved by 2050, high-performance glass can avoid 12.6 gigatons of emissions and save $3.9 trillion in energy costs over building lifetimes for an installation cost of $10.8 trillion.