The Path to Drawdown: Insulation
Construction and buildings account for 38% of the total global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. Much of this energy is used to heat and cool a home and a sizable amount of it (25-60% of that energy) is wasted through air infiltration, or heat escaping from warmer areas to cooler areas.
Better insulation of building envelopes can reduce that heat from escaping. Insulation is the use of high levels of improved materials in building envelopes that resist heat flow and regulate indoor temperatures. Ideally, insulation should cover all sides of a building, from the bottom floor, exterior walls, to the roof, and be continuous. Sealing gaps and cracks is also critical to a more thermal resistant building envelope.
Insulation is one of the most practical and cheapest ways to make buildings more energy efficient, both in new construction and through retrofitting older buildings that are often not well insulated. This also means lower utility bills, keeping out moisture, improving air quality and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use.
Project Drawdown estimates that 30% of buildings worldwide were insulated in 2018. If existing buildings in temperate and tropical countries install insulation (with low carbon materials) at a rate of 1.6 - 2% every year, between 17 - 19 gigatons of GHG emissions can be avoided by 2050.