Buildings

The building sector is the source of approximately a quarter of Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is where cantonal building regulations and the federal and cantonal Buildings Programme comes in.

The building sector plays an important role in Switzerland’s climate policy. By 2020, CO2 emissions from buildings should be reduced by at least 40 % below the 1990 level, and by at least 50 % by 2026/27. The interim target for 2015 of a 22 % reduction in CO2 emissions below the 1990 level (Art. 3 CO2 Ordinance) was more than achieved. Over the long term, Switzerland’s building stock should become CO2-free.

Consistent with the great potential for reducing emissions from buildings, there are several climate policy instruments:

CO2 levy: This has been imposed since 2008. It sets incentives to consume less fossil fuels.

The Buildings Programme: Since 2010, one third of the revenue from the CO2 levy has been used for the federal and cantonal buildings programme. It promotes the energy-efficient renovation of building shells as well as renewable energies, waste heat recovery, building technologies and geothermal energy projects.

Cantonal building regulations: The cantons also make a significant contribution. Under the CO2 Act they are required to define standards for the continuous reduction of CO2 emissions in new and older buildings (Art. 9 CO2 Act).

National CO2 limits: From 2023, new buildings may no longer emit any CO2. For existing buildings in which the heating system is replaced, there will be a limit of 20 kg CO2 per square metre. This was decided by Parliament in the total revision of the CO2 Act, which will come into force in 2022 at the earliest. Fossil fuel-based heating in existing buildings may be retained if the building is well insulated.

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Last modification 17.12.2020

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