The Path to Drawdown: Insulation
Construction and buildings account for 38% of the global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. Heating and cooling the building uses much of this energy, but a sizable amount of it (25-60%) is wasted through air infiltration or heat escaping from warmer areas to cooler areas.
Better insulation of building envelopes can reduce escaping heat. Insulation is the use of high levels of improved materials in buildings 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 crucial for a more thermal resistant building envelope.
Insulation is one of the most inexpensive and most practical 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 GHG emissions associated with energy use.
Project Drawdown estimates that, in 2018, 30% of buildings worldwide were insulated. If existing residential and commercial buildings in temperate and tropical countries install insulation (with low-carbon materials) at a rate of 1.6 - 2% annually, between 17 - 19 gigatons of GHG emissions can be avoided by 2050.