Kazakhstan’s building sector direct CO₂ emissions accounted for about 12% of total emissions in 2019. Since 1990, these emissions have increased drastically, more than 80-fold, despite declining for a brief period in the 90s. This increase is due to both an increase in demand and emissions intensity.
Due to Kazakhstan’s cold climate, clean and affordable heating for buildings is essential. Many Kazakhstanis still rely on solid fuels for residential heating largely due to high electricity prices and lack of access to other alternatives such as district heating. This reliance on coal burning for residential heating is the largest source of air pollution in Kazakhstan. In 2019, Kazakhstan’s building sector was supplied largely by fossil fuels, with 34% from fossil gas, 23% by coal and 16% by oil. Electricity accounted for only 10% of final energy in 2019.
Across analysed pathways, building sector direct CO₂ emissions decline immediately and the sector is fully decarbonised between 2042 and 2050. Across most analysed pathways, this is enabled by rapid electrification. Pathways that show relatively lower electrification rates in 2050 show higher hydrogen and heat use. Increased electrification will drive decarbonisation of the sector only if the power sector itself is decarbonised (see power sector).
Emissions from the residential sector, such as from coal burning, are largely unregulated under Kazakhstan’s Environmental Code, updated in 2021. The government is working to extend its gas pipeline network and adopted energy efficiency requirements for new and renovated buildings in 2012. Kazakhstan’s Doctrine to achieve carbon neutrality anticipates residential buildings reaching carbon neutrality by 2060 and non-residential buildings by 2050. While the target for non-residential buildings is in-line with our decarbonisation benchmark, residential buildings would need to be decarbonised at least a full decade earlier to be 1.5°C compatible.