Net zero buildings

WorldGBC launches groundbreaking project to ensure all buildings are ‘net zero’ by 2050

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 23 July 2016

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

  

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has launched a groundbreaking new project with an aim to ensure all buildings are ‘net zero’ by 2050, to help deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement and tackle climate change.

A new normal?

Advancing Net Zero 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.

At least eight Green Building Councils from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden will initially take part in the project. Architecture 2030, a non-profit organisation working to reduce emissions from buildings, will lend technical expertise alongside other local and international organisations identified by the GBCs.

The project’s launch is the result of a high-profile commitment, made at COP21, from WorldGBC and its 74 Green Building Councils – with their 27,000 member companies. The pledge was to reduce CO2 emissions from the buildings sector by 84 gigatonnes by 2050, through net zero buildings and deep renovation.

‘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.’

TERRI WILLS
CEO of WorldGBC

Long-term targets

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 programme 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.

The long-term goal is for all new buildings and major renovations to 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

Further targets include training 75,000 professionals 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.

Although the project will initially focus on certification and training, it’s hoped it will also encourage business and governments to adopt ambitious targets on net zero buildings.

Net Zero refers to buildings which 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 that 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.

Click here to find out more about the World Green Building Council.

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