The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) will use the 10th annual World Green Building Week (23-29 September 2019) to focus on end-to-end carbon emissions created across the building and construction industry, highlighting the need for the sustainable production, design, build, use, deconstruction and reuse of buildings and their materials.
Today, buildings and construction together account for 36% of global final energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when upstream power generation is included.
Operational emissions from buildings account for 28% overall, while the remaining 11% are attributed to embodied carbon emissions, which refers to carbon that is released during material manufacturing and the construction and demolition process.
The issue of addressing embodied carbon emissions is becoming increasingly important to the building and construction industry as major organisations look to collectively achieve net zero carbon along the entire lifecycle of a building.
A detailed report put together by WorldGBC will outline the pressing issues around embodied carbon in the industry, presenting a vision for a net zero carbon construction future and a call to action to radically transform processes right along the planning and construction supply chain.
The report will help to raise awareness of this vital issue and will highlight examples of leadership and best practice from across the sector. In the report, WorldGBC will call for urgent action, recommending specific steps that business, government and civil society can take to help shape a net zero carbon future for the whole lifecycle of all buildings.
The report will be released during World Green Building Week in September 2019.
The focus for this year’s World Green Building Week campaign dovetails with the issue of air pollution, which is the theme of this year’s World Environment Day taking place this Wednesday, 5 June. Green building is one key solution to improve air quality in the built environment. The energy used in material manufacture, construction and operation of buildings must come from clean, renewable sources of energy and not from burning carbon-emitting fossil fuels, which exacerbate global warming, pollute the air and damage human health.
Today, WorldGBC Chair Lisa Bate will speak at the UN Environment’s World Environment Day event in New York on a panel about innovative solutions to reduce air pollution in the building sector. She will use the UN Environment platform to formally launch this year’s campaign, Building Life.
Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council said: “This year’s focus for World Green Building Week on the full lifecycle of buildings is key to promote innovation and accelerate the abatement of emissions from buildings, which stand at 39% of total emissions worldwide. The construction industry will find in the campaign ways to address the carbon footprint of buildings and identify how to accelerate market transformation.
Only by having an end to end understanding can our green building movement truly help contribute to the decarbonisation of the built environment. We look forward to engaging with our Green Building Councils and their members in lively and exciting ways that can genuinely make a difference to awareness around this pressing issue beyond our own industry.”
Niklas Nillroth, Vice President Environment & Sustainability Volvo Construction Equipment said: “Within Volvo Construction Equipment we are excited to participate in this year’s campaign dedicated to total emissions reduction. Volvo has partnered with WorldGBC since 2016 and this has given us insights and opportunities to share our own sustainability findings and initiatives. We truly believe that partnerships in the construction value chain is a prerequisite for success in reducing total emissions. The World Green Building Week is a great opportunity to take this to the next level.”
Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Multiplex said: “We need specific, evidence-backed actions from all stakeholders in the construction industry to generate positive, sustainable outcomes for our people, our communities and our environment. Embedded sustainability efforts clearly result in a positive impact on business performance and Multiplex is very proud to be leading the way. World Green Building Week is a great opportunity for us to explore and hopefully enable sustainability solutions with our business partners and peers.”
WorldGBC will be looking to its global network of green building and construction industry experts to act as ambassadors throughout the week to promote action on total emissions and the whole life cycle of buildings. This will take the form of proactive media opportunities, hosting events, publishing reports, thought leadership articles and manifestos, making net zero carbon building commitments, and promoting the week on social media platforms using the hashtag #buildinglife.
For the last decade, World Green Building Week has been a global platform to help raise awareness of green building and shape responses to some of the most pressing issues relating to the implementation of sustainable practices in the construction and building industry. These issues have included net zero carbon buildings and green homes. WorldGBC’s green homes campaign in 2018 reached over 155 million people from the green building community and beyond.
WorldGBC is on a mission to achieve green buildings for everyone, everywhere. Its global network of almost 70 national Green Building Councils believes that green buildings can help combat climate change, as well as achieve numerous other wider social, economic, environmental and health benefits.
WorldGBC’s vision is to help shape a future in which every building in the world is net zero carbon, eliminating the buildings and construction sector’s reliance on fossil fuels which are causing irreversible damage to the planet.
In order to achieve this vision, the buildings and construction industry must take urgent action and consider the impacts of design and procurement decisions on the emissions associated with materials and construction processes.
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