United States: The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has announced launching a new project, which aims to ensure that all buildings are “Net Zero” by 2050, to help deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement and tackle climate change. The announcement was made at the recently held Business & Climate Summit, in London.
‘Advancing Net Zero’, the announcement said, will see WorldGBC and Green Building Councils (GBCs) in countries with some of the biggest projected growth in building roll out Net Zero Building certification and training, so that these highly efficient buildings become commonplace over the next 35 years.
Net Zero, the announcement explained, refers to buildings which are either “Net Zero Energy” or “Net Zero Carbon”. While Net Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) are highly efficient buildings, which 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, the announcement explained, are buildings, which produce Net Zero carbon emissions (on an annual basis). The definition of zero carbon varies across countries (and schemes), but can include an element of carbon offsetting, added the announcement.
The announcement informed that at least eight GBCs from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden will initially take part in the project, and Architecture 2030, a non-profit organisation working to reduce emissions from buildings, will be Lead Partner to WorldGBC, lending technical expertise to some participants, along with other local and international organisations identified by the GBCs.
The launch of the project, the announcement revealed, 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 giga-tonnes by 2050, through Net Zero Buildings and deep renovation, which was made at COP 21 in Paris, last December.
Under the project, participating GBCs, WorldGBC said, will develop action plans, with an aim to launch a national Net Zero certification (which could be a stand-alone programme or added to existing certification tools, such as Green Star). Alongside these certifications (developed for each GBC’s specific market), the announcement highlighted that 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.
WorldGBC said that the 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. 100% 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 which operate certification schemes, having a Net Zero tool in place by 2030.
“The success of our ambitions to keep global warming to within 1.5 to two degrees will depend on our ability to advance Net Zero Buildings – those which generate clean energy and produce no net emissions,” said Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC. “Net Zero buildings will be a defining contribution in our efforts to tackle climate change.”
He added: “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.”