A shift towards increasing sustainability of affordable housing and buildings has huge potential environmental benefits. The housing sector consumes significant amounts of energy with the overall building stock being responsible for more than 40 percent of global energy use[i] and representing the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions[ii].
Considering that 50% of the building stock that will exist in 2050 is yet to be built[iii], and that the housing sector represents in average 60% of the surface of cities; new housing construction is an opportunity for innovative solutions to mitigate environmental pressures and change in building practices to generate economic growth while providing adequate, attractive and affordable housing to a growing middle-class.
[i] UNEP (2009) Buildings and Climate Change: Summary for Policy Makers. Available online at:
http://www.unep.org/sbci/pdfs/SBCI-BCCSummary.pdf and European Commission (2011) Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe. COM (2011) 571 final. Brussels, 20.9.2011. Available online: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/resource_efficiency/pdf/com2011_571.pdf
[ii] Ruuska (2014) 'Material Efficiency of Building Construction'. Buildings 2014 (4), pp. 266-294. Available online at:
[iii] While in Europe it is expected that, by the year 2050, some 25-30% of the building stock will have been built, in developing countries that figure can be estimated at close to 75%. UN-Habitat (2015) Handbook for Sustainable Building Design for Tropical Climates. Page 5
Related Sustainable Development Goals
Leaving no one and no place behind
Donors and partners
Active collaboration, communication, and sharing of knowledge between UN-Habitat and the members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Housing have been key in keeping the programme active and relevant in international for a, and in the development of impactful projects.