How can we help to create the net zero buildings of tomorrow?


    15th September, 2023

    Energy-efficiency retrofits and renovations are crucial

    Today’s offices and homes can be dizzyingly complicated. With plumbing, wiring, insulation, and other systems, an entire world exists beneath the surface of an apparently simple property. Many people are unaware how the buildings they live or work in function the way they do. They simply hope that they work the way they want them to.


    This level of complexity has expanded over recent decades, with new layers of technology and automation that can make home and work life more convenient and efficient. But this complexity comes with a heavy environmental price tag. According to the 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the building and construction sector accounts for 34% of global energy demand and 37% of energy-related emissions.

    The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), a non-profit, is the largest local-regional-global action network accelerating sustainability in the built environment. Its network of Green Building Councils operates in over 70 countries to promote sustainable practices within the industry. The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment promotes “advanced climate leadership action from businesses, organisations, cities and subnational governments in decarbonising the built environment, to inspire others to take similar action and remove barriers to implementation.”


    The WorldGBC identifies some of the solutions for achieving net zero in buildings. These include setting strong targets, access to sustainable finance, accurate data collection, deep retrofitting of existing buildings, and electrification. Replacing old gas boilers with heat pumps, installing rooftop solar panels, and upgrading to energy-efficient lighting can help to reduce a building’s carbon footprint.

    An energy smart building that reduces carbon emissions.
    As a global leader in lighting, Signify has long made a commitment to net zero emissions, and has been carbon neutral in its operations since 2020. Connected lighting systems and solutions help customers also make progress toward their carbon neutrality goals via lighting schedules based on activities and occupancy, energy consumption monitoring, environmental monitoring, and other capabilities. Insights based on data collected from the illuminated environment allows building owners and operators to continuously evaluate progress and determine the more efficient use of space and resources.
    Public sector procurement has a central role to play in accelerating the progress toward net zero buildings. In the European Union alone an estimated €2 trillion is spent each year by a collection of 250,000 public authorities. The public sector acts across the economy, and its influence could be used to enable rapid change. Instilling circular principles into procurement processes would force the building sector, and its supply chains, to rethink how it does business.
    Added incentive comes from programs such as the amended Energy Efficiency Directive issued by the European Commission. The revised directive requires the public sector to reduce its annual energy consumption by 1.9%, which will require upgrading 3% of the total floor space in public buildings per year.
    Tackling carbon emissions in buildings is no small feat. The majority of buildings that will be in use over the next several decades have already been built—more than 85%, according to an estimate from the European Environment Agency. Upgrades and retrofits using connected, energy-efficient technologies are therefore crucial.
    The good news is that solutions for helping to make the net zero transition exist. 

    We know that the solutions exist for a decarbonised future; and our network is ready to support industry and government to ensure that pledges, commitments and promises are turned into action.”


    Cristina Gamboa

    WorldGBC CEO

    Energy-efficient lighting is one of these solutions.


    Find out how you can make the Green Switch, and start your journey towards net-zero energy, today.

    Listen to this article, and discover other topic related blog podcasts, here.

    About the author:

    Harry Verhaar

    Harry Verhaar

    Head of Public & Government Affairs, Signify



    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Media relations - Professional Lighting
    Claire Phillips

    Tel: +44 7956 489081


    For commercial enquiries:

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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