World Green Building Council calls for net-zero building sector by 2030

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has called on the built environment sector to set ambitious targets that eliminate carbon emissions for building portfolios by 2030, in order to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement.

The WorldGBC launched its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment on Wednesday (6 June), calling on companies to track, verify and report on commitments to eliminate operational carbon emissions from their building stocks. Majid Al Futtaim, a shopping mall, retail and leisure firm in the Middle East and North Africa, Integral Group and IoT lighting firm Signify are the first three signatories of the commitment.

“This new Commitment is a huge step forward on the path towards net zero. Our vision is ambitious, but we know that the building industry has the knowledge, the technologies and the capability to deliver,” the WorldGBC’s chief executive Terri Wills said.

“The Commitment will help to create unprecedented demand for green design and construction, stimulating the market to deliver net zero carbon buildings at scale.

In order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the building and construction industry, which accounts for around one-third of global emissions, will need to play a crucial role in keeping the global temperature at sustainable levels. Energy consumption levels in the sector are set to be exacerbated in the next 35 years, with the global building stock expected to double to 415 billion square metres.

The WorldGBC believes that the building sector must operate at net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and launched its Advancing Towards Zero campaign in 2016 to drive the transition globally.

Signatories to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which forms part of the Building Lasting Change 2018 programme, are encouraged to promote the aims across the supply chain by incentivising energy demand reductions and the uptake of renewable energy solutions.

UK horizons

The programme was launched weeks after UK Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to halve the energy use from new buildings by 2030. The UK Government will also aim to halve the energy costs from the existing building stock – both domestically and commercially. Heat and power for buildings currently account for 40% of national energy usage.

In November, the Government struck an agreement with the construction industry to halve emissions in the built environment over the next eight years.

edie’s own Sector Insight report found that almost two-thirds of businesses operating in the construction industry are now more committed to taking action on sustainability than they were 12 months ago.

Matt Mace

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