World Green Building Council wants all buildings ‘net zero’ by 2050
The World Green Building Council has an ambitious goal: It wants all building to produce as much energy as they use.
The organization has launched a groundbreaking project that aims to ensure structures worldwide achieve net zero status by 2050, helping deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement and tackle climate change, according to a release.
Advancing Net Zero, as the effort is called, will see the WorldGBC and Green Building Councils in countries with some of the biggest projected growth in building roll out net zero building certification and training so high-efficiency buildings become commonplace over the next 35 years, the organization said.
At least eight green building councils from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden will initially take part in the project, and Architecture 2030, a non-profit organization working to reduce emissions from buildings, will be lead partner to WorldGBC, lending technical expertise to some participants, along with other local and international organizations identified by the GBCs.
The launch of the project converts into action a high-profile commitment from WorldGBC and its 74 green building councils with their 27,000 member companies to reduce CO2 emissions from the buildings sector by 84 gigatonnes by 2050, through net zero buildings and deep renovation, which was made at COP21 in Paris in December.
In announcing the project at the Business and Climate Summit in London, Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC, said, “The success of our ambitions to keep global warming to within 1.5 to 2 degrees will depend on our ability to advance net zero buildings – those which generate clean energy and produce no net emissions. Net zero buildings will be a defining contribution in our efforts to tackle climate change.
“Getting down to zero won’t be easy. This will be a long and challenging road but together with the dedication and expertise of our green building councils and partners, we can create a thriving market for highly efficient buildings and make net zero the new normal.”
Under the project, participating green building councils will develop action plans, with an aim to launch a national net zero certification (which could be a stand alone program or added to existing certification tools such as Green Star) as soon as possible. Alongside these certifications (developed for each GBC’s specific market), each participating GBC will create specific net zero training for green building professionals and support the development of net zero demonstration projects within their own countries.
Long-term targets include:
· All new buildings and major renovations should be net zero starting in 2030, meaning no buildings should be built below net zero standards beyond 2030. One-hundred percent of buildings should be net zero by 2050
· 75,000 professionals trained on net zero building by 2030, and 300,000 by 2050.
· All green building councils that operate certification programs have a net zero tool in place by 2030.
Although the project initially will focus on certification and training, it is hoped that it will also encourage business and governments to adopt ambitious targets on net zero buildings, the WorldGBC said.
Net Zero refers to buildings that are either “net zero energy” or “net zero carbon.” Net zero energy buildings are highly efficient buildings that consume net zero energy (on an annual basis), meaning all the energy needed to power the building is generated through on-site renewable energy. Net zero carbon buildings are buildings which produce net zero carbon emissions (on an annual basis). The definition of zero carbon varies across countries, but can include an element of carbon offsetting.
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Companies: U.S. Green Building Council