Emissions from buildings and homes

This indicator shows emissions of CO2 and particulate matter associated with the use of buildings.

14,662 kt CO₂-eq.

  • Household greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by about 20% since 2010.
  • Particulate matter emissions are linked to the use of wood as an energy source; they have fallen by almost 40% since 2010.

What do we see?

The charts below show greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions for the household and trade and services sectors. Household greenhouse gas emissions account for about three quarters of the total value. They have gradually declined over the years with a value in 2021 almost 20% lower than in 2010, while emissions from trade and services have remained fairly constant. In terms of particulate emissions, there are almost no emissions from trade and services, only from households. These emissions are very much related to the use of wood as an energy source. They have decreased over time, with a value in 2021 almost 40% lower than in 2010, possibly due to better energy efficiency and/or the installation of filters in the chimney.

What’s the aim? 

In a circular economy, we want buildings to last as long as possible provided this is not accompanied by negative environmental impacts. Greenhouse gas emissions are strongly related to the consumption of energy-bearing materials and can be greatly reduced through improvements in insulation, heating and other techniques. However, there is also a large materials demand associated with building and renovation. It is therefore important to make well-considered choices of materials and techniques in order to reduce the environmental impact during a building’s life cycle and keep opportunities for reuse and recycling open as much as possible. Emissions of particulate matter are mainly related to the use of wood as an energy carrier: these can be reduced by adjustments or conversions in heating techniques.

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator was compiled from environmental data made available by the VMM on air emissions. Total greenhouse gas emissions, expressed as CO2 equivalents, and emissions of particulate matter in the form of PM2.5, expressed as tonnes, for the household and trade and services sectors were used to approximate emissions from residential and tertiary buildings, respectively. For households, it is likely that most of the emissions are related to the use of residential buildings. For tertiary buildings, it needs to be further investigated how much of the emissions can be allocated to their use and not to other things such as manufacturing processes.

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