Multinationals join quest for zero-carbon buildings

A corporate-led project aimed at making zero-energy buildings a reality worldwide swelled its ranks with nine more multinationals joining in the effort this week.

The consortium of construction and utilities companies wants to bring external energy used by buildings down to zero by 2050 by combining onsite generation with highly energy efficient construction and design.

The Energy Efficient Buildings project, initiated in April this year by construction giants Lafarge and United Technologies (see related story), now has nine more global companies specialising in construction, energy, electronics and services on board.

To achieve the 2050 goal the companies will also be looking at ways of making cement, wood products, electricity generation and mining sustainable.

Cement production is particularly highly energy-intensive and accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) which administers the project.

“Buildings today represent one third of the world’s energy demand, and energy consumption is expected to grow by an additional 45 percent by 2025,” said project director Christian Kornevall.

“By joining the EEB, these global companies have demonstrated their commitment to sustainable growth for our planet and leadership in transforming the industry,” he said.

While zero-emission buildings have already been developed they remain too expensive to be commercially viable. But the goal may not be as far removed as it may seem – London, for example, is aiming for at least one carbon-neutral development per borough by 2010 (see related story).

The nine new companies joining the group include global cement maker Cemex, services provider DuPont, energy suppliers Electricite de France and Gaz de France, and electronics giant Philips. Others are expected to follow, the WBCSD said.

The project leaders plan to achieve the zero-energy goal in three steps: identifying green building practices and obstacles, mapping out opportunities and a “call for action” aimed at mobilising the industry.

For more information see the WBCSD website.

Goska Romanowicz

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