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Buildings & Materials

Here’s the deal

Buildings contribute to greenhouse gas emissions through the electricity and energy used to power, heat and cool. In 2017, Georgia’s commercial and residential buildings were responsible for about 30% of the state’s emissions. We know that increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings can reduce electricity and energy demand. This category also considers the emissions associated with materials, such as recyclables and hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants.

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Recycling/Waste
Management

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Increased industrial and commercial recycling, increased paper recycling and increased recycling at the community/household level can reduce greenhouse gas emissions because recycling materials is often less energy intensive than creating new materials.

Refrigerant
Management

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Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — the chemicals used to cool refrigerators and air conditioners — are an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Controlling leakages and replacing HFCs with alternative refrigerants as well as properly disposing of existing HFCs is a critical issue globally.

Retrofitting

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Buildings use electricity and natural gas for heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC), water heating, lighting, and to power appliances and electronic devices — up to 30% of greenhouse gases globally comes from these energy hogs. Retrofitting existing buildings to make them more efficient has tremendous potential to accelerate our progress.

How do we get there?

Head over to the Carbon Reduction Visualizer to explore data on Georgia’s greenhouse gas emissions. You can see how emissions fall if we scale solutions to ambitious, but achievable, levels.

How do we
get there?

Head over to the Carbon Reduction Visualizer to explore data on Georgia’s greenhouse gas emissions. You can see how emissions fall if we scale solutions to ambitious, but achievable, levels.

Here’s where we are

Recycling often uses less energy than producing a new good. Therefore, it is a powerful way to reduce emissions in Georgia. According to UGA Extension, as much as 28% of Georgia’s household waste sent to landfills could be recycled. That’s nearly 2 million tons!

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Here’s where we are

Stories & Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Which industries dominate in Georgia’s building products?

According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia is a leader in paper and pulp products, with an economic output of $13.1 billion in 2018, representing almost 20,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in annual wages and salaries.

Why focus on refrigerants?

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are chemicals used to cool refrigerators and air conditioners. They are also an extremely potent greenhouse gas, with thousands of times the heat trapping potential of CO2. This class of chemicals was used to replace CFCs, a class of refrigerant chemicals that were phased out because they were depleting the ozone layer. In December 2020, Congress passed legislation to phase down HFCs nationwide by 40% by 2024 and by 85% by 2036. The phase down will be administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

What is our current recycling rate?

In 2011, Georgia recycled only approximately 0.7 million tons out of 10.6 million tons of MSW, or a recycling rate of about 6.6%. This is significantly below the U.S. average rate of 22.6% reported by the same study (Shin, 2014).

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