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Green Building Councils commit to green area twice the size of Singapore

More than 1.25 billion square metres of buildings – almost double the size of Singapore – will be registered, renovated or certified as green building space over the next five years, under ambitious commitments made by Green Building Councils at COP21 in Paris today.

Green Building Councils from around the world, including Mauritius, India and the US, unveiled national commitments to transform the sustainability of their buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that the buildings and construction industry plays its part in limiting global warming to 2 degrees.

Buildings currently account for around one third of global emissions. But green building is one of the most cost-effective solutions to climate change, which generates significant environmental, economic and societal benefits.

The commitments were made at Buildings Day – the official COP21 meeting led by Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Ecology and former presidential candidate – and include:

  • 25 Green Building Councils committing to register, renovate or certify over 1.25 billion square metres of green building space and train over 127,000 qualified green building professionals by 2020.
  • All 74 national Green Building Councils supporting the high level commitment from the World Green Building Council (the global network of which they are members) to achieve Net Zero carbon new building and energy efficient refurbishment of the existing building stock by 2050.
  • 3 Green Building Councils (Canada, Australia and South Africa) committing to introduce Net Zero certification for buildings.
  • More than 125 corporate members of Green Building Councils making bold commitments, including the French product manufacturing giant Saint-Gobain, Australian developer LendLease and Swedish construction firm Skanska.

A new alliance of 16 countries and over 60 organisations, known as the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (which includes WorldGBC, its 74 Green Building Councils and their 27,000 member companies) was also launched today, and publicly committed to help countries meet their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) through green building.

Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, said:

“Today marks a turning point in history. Politicians and business leaders now jointly recognise that the way we build can lead to economic growth and prosperity without risking life on the planet, and that the private sector is a driving force in achieving this goal.

“While the building sector is a major contributor to climate change, it is an essential part of the solution – and one that brings immediate benefits to economy and society.

“Green Building Councils, their private sector members and government partners have committed to transform the global buildings industry to not only help us reach a 2 degree world tomorrow, but enable us to realise the direct benefits from a new way of building – today. 

“Committing to an area of green buildings twice the size of Singapore over the next five years is just the start – in 10 to 15 years’ time this action will catalyse a green building revolution which will see sustainable buildings become the norm.”

See all commitments from GBCs and their corporate members