The World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC) recent update to its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment encourages investment through energy efficiency improvements and says the focus on achieving net zero goals should be on emissions reduction by practicing sustainable construction and building operations.
That is done by reducing energy demands and shifting from fossil fuels to all renewable energy, the World GBC says.
Businesses also need to compensate for residual emissions and invest directly into carbon reduction and other sustainable improvement and development goals. In this area, the WorldGBC says it encourages the building and construction industries to explore short-term opportunities to support decarbonization with investment through energy efficiency improvements or establishing access to renewable energy sources.
The WorldGBC commitment calls for building assets to account for all operational carbon emissions by 2030. By the start of 2023 businesses and organizations will also be required to account for the lifecycle impact of all new buildings and major renovations stating that they are efficient, powered by renewable energy and use the maximum reductions in carbon emissions.
Builders must also track and report on activities that influence the indirect reduction of lifecycle carbon emissions.
The WorldGBC says 10% of the world’s carbon emissions come from the materials and practices in the construction industry that are required to build and renovate buildings, called embodied carbon. By 2050 the organization estimates more than half of all carbon emissions from the construction industry could be because of embodied carbon. The #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition has called for emissions from buildings to be cut in half by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050.
The WorldGBC’s Zero Net Carbon Buildings Commitment now includes 109 businesses and organizations in 28 cities. Those signed up for the commitment account for more than 5.3 million tCO2e of emissions, the organization says.
In addition to updating the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, The WorldGBC also published a report to help guide the industry in compensating for its carbon impacts.
The WorldGBC isn’t alone in pushing ongoing carbon sustainability goals in the building industry. Building Transparency recently announced two programs to help bring together leaders from the industry to help fight embodied carbon and fight the emissions problem.