WorldGBC launches groundbreaking project to ensure all buildings are “net zero” by 2050

Earlier this summer, the World Green Building Council launched Advancing Net Zero, a new program that will work with with Green Building Councils in countries with some of the biggest projected building growth to roll out net zero building certification and training so that these highly efficient buildings become commonplace over the next 35 years. The project intends to convert 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 last December. At least eight Green Building Councils from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden will initially take part in the project.

The Australia Green Building Council will be represented at the upcoming Getting to Zero National Forum on Oct. 12-14 in Denver, Colorado, by Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation. Chapa will share what COP 21 means for policy, investment, consumer demand and explore the journey Australia has taken to define the very simple term: Carbon Neutral Buildings, and the impact that definition has had to date, and where we expect it to go next both domestically and internationally.

“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 New WorldGBC Logo 2015produce no net emissions. Net zero buildings will be a defining contribution in our efforts to tackle climate change,” said Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC. “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 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. 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.

Although the project will initially focus on certification and training, it is hoped that 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 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 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.

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