The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) launched a new groundbreaking project on 28 June 2016, which aims to ensure that all buildings are net zero by 2050, to help deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement and to tackle climate change.
The project, 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. The aim is for these highly efficient buildings to become commonplace over the next 35 years.
At least eight GBCs from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, the 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 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 converts into action a high-profile commitment from WorldGBC and its 74 GBCs with their 27,000 member companies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the buildings sector by 84 gigatonnes by 2050, through net zero buildings and deep renovation.
Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC who announced the project at the Business and Climate Summit in London, 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 GBCs 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.
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.
Although the project will initially focus on certification and training, it is hoped that it will also encourage businesses and governments to adopt ambitious targets on net zero buildings.