Switzerland’s building sector has seen a steeper reduction in direct emissions since 1990 than the decline in overall GHG emissions, falling by 37% between 1990 and 2020. This was still insufficient, however, to achieve the country’s 2020 buildings sector emissions reduction target of a 40% reduction below 1990 levels set in 2012.
The amended CO₂ Act that was rejected in the 2021 referendum included an extension of this target to a 50% reduction below 1990 levels by 2026/27. Also included was a 2023 ban on the use of fossil fuel heating systems in new buildings, and a requirement that replacement systems emit no more than 20 kgCO₂/m2 of building space, with a further 5 kgCO₂/m2 reduction in each subsequent year. These measures were scrapped in the latest proposed amendment and replaced with funding to encourage the adoption of heat pumps and the creation of district heating networks. No sector-wide emissions reduction target is included.
The now rejected 2026/27 emissions reduction target, if achieved, would have put a 1.5°C compatible 2030 emissions level in reach, which requires a reduction of around two thirds to three quarters below 1990 levels. Re-including the ban and gradual phase-out of fossil fuel based heating systems in new and existing homes respectively in the latest CO₂ Act proposal, would help greatly to achieve the necessary electrification rate of at least 55% by 2030.