Ghana has seen its overall energy consumption rise steadily over the past 10 years. Residential buildings account for the highest share of total final energy consumption in Ghana, accounting for 41% of total final consumption in 2019, while commercial buildings accounted for 5% of total final consumption.
To align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, Ghana would need to reduce the direct annual CO₂ emissions from the buildings sector from 1 MtCO₂e in 2019 to 0 MtCO₂e by 2032, reaching full decarbonisation.
This would primarily be driven by a rapid electrification of the building sector rising from 22% in 2019 to 51-74% by 2030, and ultimately 94-96% by 2050. Some scenarios suggest that biomass, and to a lesser extent, energy from heating networks, would also support the decarbonisation of the sector. Biomass energy could contribute 6-40% of the sector’s energy mix by 2030, and a maximum of around 25% by 2050 (depending on the scenario). Heat energy could contribute as much as 2% of the sector’s energy mix by 2050. These ambitious increases would likely need international technical and financial support to achieve.
It should be noted, however, that Ghana currently relies heavily on traditional biomass energy, which has negative health and sustainability implications. The uptake of conventional renewable biomass energy would be crucial to facilitating the timely decarbonisation of the buildings sector.
While the emissions from the sector are already relatively low, Ghana has not articulated any detailed targets to mitigate buildings-related emissions. The updated NDC does highlight interventions such as “promotion of energy efficiency in homes, industry, and commerce” (aiming for an absolute emissions reduction of 1.9 MtCO₂e by 2030), and the adoption of sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning.
The National Medium-Term Development Policy Framework also seeks to promote the use of solar energy for all public and private buildings. Such interventions would represent positive steps towards decarbonising the sector, but its lack of detail renders it challenging to determine their impact on emissions and the compatibility of Ghana’s building sector with 1.5°C pathways.