Six global parks up for Urban Open Space award

Buildings Day to herald global climate Alliance

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction will be launched December 3 at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Scheduled for the first ever Buildings Day in conjunction with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sessions, the initiative tackles buildings-related sources that currently account for more than 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The planning, design, implementation and refurbishment of buildings and construction offers huge potential to achieve rapid renewable energy growth and energy efficiency gains as well as climate-resilient solutions,” the Alliance’s statement of intent exhorts. “This also creates better, safer working and living environments, large cost savings and revenue potential and big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The new Alliance will ask stakeholders such as real estate companies, financial institutions, professional associations, academic disciplines, trades and training bodies and end-users of buildings to publicly commit to the below 2° C pathway — efforts to keep global warming within a temperature range that supports climatic stability.

Alliance organizers have identified key priorities for creative and collaborative problem solving aimed at securing public policies, cost-effective technologies and financing to support sustainable energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure. As developers, owners and investors, Alliance members are also expected to be leaders in testing and propagating sustainable technologies and conservation efforts.

Organizations on hand to support the Alliance and the UNFCCC’s work include the Passive House Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

“Renewable energy is absolutely essential for climate protection, but better efficiency offers even greater potential,” asserts Dr. Wolfgang Feist, director of the Passive House Institute.

“The property sector has a huge influence on the global financial system. We want to leverage this influence to support the efforts of governments as they negotiate a new climate deal in Paris,” says Sean Tompkins, chief executive officer of RICS. “And we want to build on that relationship by supporting governments as they make adaptation and mitigation commitments to curb the effects of climate change.”

In Canada, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Toronto is seeking input on its recently released white paper on the commercial real estate sector’s critically needed resilience to climate change. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Urban Development Institute, Pacific Region, and the Pembina Institute have also issued a call for action for the buildings sector in line with British Columbia’s just released climate leadership plan.

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