Energy consumption in buildings is on the rise and represents almost half of total greenhouse gas emissions in cities, which are the main cause of global warming on the planet. There is a great scientific consensus that improving energy efficiency of building systems and operations is a very effective way to tackle this important problem. However, despite the fact that the existing building stock has the greatest potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction, most laws and regulations adopted have focused primarily on new buildings. Hence, improving energy efficiency in existing buildings represents a great opportunity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Numerous measures to increase efficiency and decrease emissions have been put in place in Europe and in the United States, with Europe taking the lead, but there is still much to be done. The measures range from more conventional proposals to innovative market-based instruments and, though similar to some extent, are tailored to the specifics of each region. Based on the European experience, this chapter seizes the opportunity to fill in the existing gap on the energy upturn of the existing building stock, giving some useful elements to legal professionals in order to improve the measures developed throughout the United States.
Teresa Parejo-Navajas and Michael B. Gerrard
This chapter examines the most important existing regulatory and policy measures to improve the resiliency and adaptive capacity of all types of residential and commercial buildings, both new and existing. It considers how buildings should be modified to cope with climate-related extreme events. Building codes and other legal requirements often lag seriously behind the need to revise them, and most builders do not go beyond what the codes require. Climate projections involve a wide uncertainty range, and protection against the worst case scenarios may be beyond the economic capacity of all but a few owners. Particular attention is paid to slums, and to provisional and post-disaster housing.