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Rich nations global trailblazers in ‘green building’ technologies – study

Rich nations such as the United States, Singapore, South Korea, Germany and Australia are the global leaders in "green building" innovations, according to a recent study by the U.S.-based think-thank Lux Research.

The study assessed how the policymakers in 21 countries, a group accountable for 80 percent of the world's gross domestic product, create opportunity for green building technologies.

The findings revealed that wealthy countries easily adopt expensive and emerging technologies like green roofs, insulated windows and building-integrated photovoltaics, compared with others.

Lux Research said while energy security and environmental sustainability are the bases for green building policy implementation, cost and affordability determine the extent and pace of adoption.

"Policy measures along with the ability to pay, payback periods, and addressable market size, should determine a firm's decision on which countries to invest precious market development funds in," said Lux Research analyst Aditya Ranade.

The study also showed that unlike power supply security, which is often perceived as a zero-sum game, green buildings and energy efficiency projects are viewed to have "win-win" potentials that attract global cooperation, such as the joint effort of the U.S. Agency for International Development and India's Bureau of Energy Efficiency on developing the Energy Conservation Building Codes and emissions trading schemes in several countries.

Oil-rich nations such as Brazil are left behind in promoting green buildings because they tend to stick to conventional energy sources that are relatively cheaper than renewable ones. Fast-growing nations, on the other hand, invest on high-capital green technologies that can deliver low operational cost in the long term and increase energy savings while reducing carbon emissions.

Mr. Ranade noted that buildings are the backbone of the rapid growth of the urban world, which now has over 50 percent of the global human population. They consume 40 percent of the world's energy and account for 40 percent of its greenhouse emissions.

Sustainable building material technologies can help diminish economic and resource inputs, advance labor productivity of building inhabitants and reduce environmental impacts, said Lux Research. – C. Dominguez

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