Buildings best bet for cutting carbon

Making buildings more energy efficient is going to be the most cost effective way of bringing down the world's carbon emissions, according to those working within the industry.

While there’s an obvious element of ‘well they would say that, wouldn’t they?’ about the World Green Building Council’s proclamation that better insulation and building techniques are the obvious way forward, but their arguments are compelling.

“Buildings represent the biggest and best opportunity for achieving cost-effective carbon mitigation action, globally, said Tony Arnel, chairman of the council.

“The World Green Building Council represents the biggest and most effective coalition of organisations dedicated to the development of green, low-carbon buildings, and as such we recognise the historic importance of the climate change negotiations taking place in Copenhagen.

“Countries around the world must embrace the opportunities afforded by new and existing buildings to help us curb global emissions and set us on a low-carbon trajectory for development that goes hand in hand with benefits for people and businesses everywhere.”

Globally, the building sector consumes more than one third of the world’s energy and, in most countries, is the largest source of GHG emissions and a major contributor to global climate change.

The World GBC is calling on member states at COP15 to agree on a framework that will ensure carbon savings are made in this area, whether through policy tools or funding earmarked for green building.

Specifically, argues the organisation, it should include:

  • Deployment of rating tools through voluntary green building councils and associated organisations to drive the ‘green’ transformation of property markets;
  • Adoption of minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings through national building regulatory codes;
  • Fiscal incentives to encourage investment in projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from new and existing buildings;
  • Measurement of and performance goals for emissions from national building stock, including a net 50% reduction in the sector by 2030.
  • Sam Bond

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