National green building councils from 10 countries agreed to adopt zero net carbon certification programs by the end of 2017, during a meeting in New York City late last month hosted by the World Green Building Council and Architecture 2030.
The three-day Advancing Net Zero workshop was a first step in an effort announced in July to deliver on the 84-gigaton carbon dioxide cut that WorldGBC took on at the United Nations climate summit in Paris last year. The New York meeting included green building council representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden.
“In three short days, the progress we made was enormous,” reports Architecture 2030 founder and CEO Ed Mazria. “The group broadly agreed on some fundamental principles, such as the need for a focus on carbon and on being transparent about how pathways will become mechanisms for continuous improvement in the building sector. Importantly, all GBC representatives championed a level of energy efficiency, and each of their initial plans includes careful consideration for a combination of onsite and offsite renewable energy, and in some cases, offsets.”
In addition to the certification programs, the GBCs agreed to come up with their own net zero definitions by the end of next year, and to develop training materials and educational resources to meet the broad objective of training 75,000 net zero building professionals world-wide by 2030 and 300,000 by 2050. One council undertook to train 1,000 professionals per year.
“Building this consensus amongst the GBCs is critical, because the transformation of the building sector to zero carbon must begin immediately,” Mazria writes. “This transition will take decades of work, and a coordinated effort between planners, regulators, architects, designers, builders, and owners, but this commitment lays the foundation by creating common guidelines for each of the parties to follow.”