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How WorldGBC & its Green Building Councils are demonstrating action against their COP21 commitments

At COP21 in Paris last December, WorldGBC, its network of Green Building Councils in over 70 countries around the world and their 27,000 member companies made a high level commitment to reduce emissions from buildings.

We collectively committed to reduce 84 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions (GtC02) by 2050. And we pledged to do this by achieving Net Zero carbon buildings, and through the energy efficient, deep refurbishment of our existing building stock.

We’re delighted to report great progress against this commitment. Earlier this year we launched our Advancing Net Zero programme which aims to ensure that all buildings are net zero carbon by 2050, and which already has the support of 10 Green Building Councils who are committing to implement net zero certification (or designation) schemes in their countries, and to train green building professionals in net zero building principles.

We also moved ahead to the public phase of the European BUILD UPON project, the world’s largest collaborative project on building renovation, which to date has engaged over 1,000 key stakeholders in building renovation at 50 workshops.

Over 30 Green Building Councils also made national commitments at COP21, unveiled at the first ever Buildings Day in Paris, and which of course contribute to our high level commitment. Now, as we mark the eve of the second ‘Buildings Day’ at COP22 in Marrakech, tomorrow, we highlight the progress made by some of our Green Building Councils (in alphabetical order) since last December.

The full updates against the COP21 commitments can be found on the Better Build Green website here.



In 2015, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) committed to introducing a label for buildings, fitouts, and communities recognising net zero achievements for energy, carbon and water.

Since that time, GBCA partnered with the Australian Government, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (a state government agency), to introduce a carbon neutral label for buildings and precincts. The label is expected to begin operation in 2017, after which it will begin developing training for professionals to achieve this outcome.


At COP21, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) also committed to introduce a Net Zero rating certification in Canada in the next 5 to 10 years.

Earlier this month, CaGBC released a Zero Carbon Buildings Framework for the assessment of highly energy efficient buildings that minimise greenhouse gas emissions. The Framework is the first stage of a broader CaGBC Zero Carbon Buildings Initiative to champion the move to lower-carbon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings in support of Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The next phase will be the development of a verification program to be completed and launched by CaGBC by the end of the second quarter of 2017.


Colombia Green Building Council (CCCS) committed to continue to promote the use of international and local certification tools for better buildings, to encourage leaders to perform better than current regulation and achieve a market driven transformation.

In May 2016, CCCS launched “CASA Colombia, Sustainable Housing”, a local certification system which is facilitating the delivery of sustainable housing construction, in alignment with national green growth policies.


In Paris, Emirates Green Building Council pledged to support the UAE government strategies and goals for national development within the UAE vision 2021, the ‘Green Growth Strategy’ and the UAE Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submission to COP21.

EmiratesGBC has provided extensive input to the Ministry of Energy’s Fourth National Communication Report for the UAE, specifically on green building initiatives and energy efficiency programmes, which help in mitigating carbon dioxide emissions in the UAE.


Green Building Council Finland made commitments to transform the value change such as changing the Finnish building renovation industry through the BUILD UPON project (of the WorldGBC’s Europe Regional Network), and continuing to train professionals on sustainability issues and toolkits in its GBPRO courses.

The Council organised six events for the BUILD UPON project and held training of ‘life cycle assessment’ calculation and sustainable materials, together with events about ‘nearly zero energy’ buildings and energy efficient buildings.


Guatemala Green Building Council (GGBC) committed to design its events programme to match the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to train at least 125 professionals in green building per year.

Since COP21, it has designed its events around the SDGs to facilitate market transformation to green building products and technologies, and has already educated up to 700 professionals and students.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) committed to work with the HKSAR Government to support the implementation of its Energy Saving Plan (which sets a target of reducing Hong Kong’s overall energy intensity by 40% by 2025, using a 2005 baseline).

Through the “ACT-Shop” Programme, which delivers retro-commissioning practices to the private building sectors through a knowledge-based approach, HKGBC is supporting the Government’s initiatives. HKGBC will also work with the Government on transferring the knowledge and skills from the programme to the wider industry.


At COP21, the Irish Green Building Council committed to promote and develop tools and standards, such as the Home Performance Index (HPI), and to build consensus on how to decarbonise the built environment by bringing together renovation stakeholders through the BUILDUPON project.

This year the first Home Performance Index (HPI) certified building was opened by the Irish Minister for Housing, and the Irish GBC has been heavily involved in the BUILD UPON project, recently publishing a set of 10 recommendations for better national renovation strategies.


The Green Building Council of Mauritius committed to assisting the Government of Mauritius in achieving a 30% improvement on the Government of Mauritius INDC on energy efficiency by implementing and collaborating on projects in respect of the built environment.

Since COP21, it has focused on getting the Energy Efficiency Building Regulations and Energy Efficiency Building Code enacted. GBCM and its Chair has been closely involved in facilitating the enactment of these regulations with various stakeholders, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and the Construction Industry Development Board.


Peru Green Building Council committed to achieving a minimum of 3 million gross square metres of LEED certified space (from 262,000 at the time of COP21) by the year 2020. In 2016, it certified over 10 LEED projects, reaching almost 1 million gross square metres of LEED certified space.


The Polish Green Building Council committed to training at least 50 professionals in green building per year at COP21.

In 2016 it has doubled that number, training over 100 people with another 20 expected before the end of the year.


GBC Turkey committed to develop, introduce and implement rating and certification systems for deep renovation, maintenance and operational performance monitoring of residential buildings.

In 2015, it published “Çedbik Konut”, the Turkish Residential Green Building Certification Program and issued the first certificate.


The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) committed by 2020 to achieve a 40% improvement in electricity efficiency (excluding heating and cooling) and source 100% of its electricity from renewable energy.

By March 2016 it was able to demonstrate an 8% decrease in electricity use per staff member, over the course of the previous 12 months. And it has since undergone an office refurbishment including installing efficient new ventilation systems, to enable an increased number of staff using the office, whilst supporting its energy efficiency and health and wellbeing targets. Its new London office has been confirmed as the lowest embodied carbon office refurbishment ever recorded in the UK, enabling UK-GBC to reduce its electricity use for lighting by 48%.


USGBC committed to scaling up to support certification of a projected 5 billion square feet (478 million sq. m.) plus of green building with LEED and EDGE over the next five years (from December 2015).

Since the kick-off of COP21 through to September 2016, nearly 650 million square feet of building space was certified under the LEED Green Building Rating System. In the same timeframe, USGBC has scaled up its capacity for certification in key emerging countries such as India.


Follow #betterbuildgreen on Twitter for further updates.