World Green Building Week (23 – 29 September 2019) is an annual campaign that motivates and empowers us all to deliver greener buildings.
This World Green Building Week, we’re #BuildingLife and exploring how we can create a green, healthy and climate resilient built environment for all.
This year’s campaign aims to raise greater awareness of the carbon emissions from all stages of a building’s lifecycle, and therefore encourage new practices and new ways of thinking to work towards reducing carbon emissions from buildings.
Did you know buildings and construction are responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions? 28% of these emissions come from the operational “in-use” phase – to heat, power and cool them, while 11% of these emissions are attributed to embodied carbon emissions, which refers to carbon that is released during the construction process and material manufacturing.
To date, the building and construction industry’s focus has been on operational emissions and how buildings actually perform in-use.
However, in order to fully decarbonise by 2050 to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees, the building and construction sector must also tackle embodied emissions from the entire building lifecycle.
Therefore, this World Green Building Week, we’re calling on all of the building and construction industry supply chain to decarbonise.
Join your local Green Building Council and help us build a better future!
Learn about #BuildingLife this World Green Building Week
Why do we need net zero carbon emissions buildings and not just green buildings?
Across the world, evidence is growing that green buildings bring multiple benefits. They can help us to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions; help create sustainable communities, and drive economic growth.
Did you know buildings and construction are responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions? 28% of these emissions come from the operational “in-use” phase – to heat, power and cool them, while 11% of these emissions are attributed to embodied carbon emissions, which refers to carbon that is released during the construction process, material manufacturing and deconstruction process – the “before-use” and “after-use” phases of a building’s life.
In order to achieve the Paris Agreement, the global building and construction sector must transition to and operate at net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Therefore, green buildings alone aren’t enough though to meet this current trajectory. We need zero emissions buildings and we need to advance net zero.
WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero global project was launched as a response to the Paris agreement in 2016 to inspire action from the Green Building Council network and its members towards this transition.
How do we reduce operating emissions?
There are a number of measures we can take to reducing operating emissions from new and existing buildings. Here are just a few examples:
Green Building Councils across WorldGBC’s network are developing market mechanisms such as certification schemes, training and education programmes, and engagement tools with corporate members and governments, to help support industry towards net zero carbon buildings, and significant operational emissions reductions from the sector. Find out more in the Advancing Net Zero Status Report 2019.
What is embodied carbon?
Embodied carbon refers to the carbon that is released during the material manufacturing and transportation process, and the construction and deconstruction process of a building’s lifecycle; the carbon emitted during the “before use” and “after use” of a building’s life.
Operational carbon refers to the carbon emitted during the “in use” stage of a building’s lifecycle.
How do we reduce embodied carbon?
How is the World Green Building Council network seeking to address embodied carbon emissions?
Along with its network of Green Building Councils and partners, WorldGBC is developing a ‘call to action’ report focusing on embodied carbon emissions, and the systemic changes needed to achieve full decarbonisation across the global building and construction sector.
The objectives of the report are to:
The report will be released in September 2019 during World Green Building Week.
Why is the World Green Building Council network now focusing on embodied carbon?
Because we are running out of time: The IPCC has made it clear that we have 31 years to decarbonise to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees, beyond which the repercussions on our planet and everything that we do will be catastrophic. Therefore, the building and construction sector stands at a critical time and must fully decarbonise – including embodied emissions – by 2050, to deliver the ambition of the Paris agreement.
We now understand the challenges are global and multi-faceted. We need key targets and actions which can be implemented by all sectors:
How do emissions from buildings and construction affect air quality?
Ambient, or outdoor, air pollution is caused by a range of factors, including transport, agriculture and waste. However, the contribution of the built environment, in both the construction and operational phases, cannot be underestimated.
For more information on the link between the built environment and air pollution, click here.
Share #BuildingLife this World Green Building Week
Share on social media:
Join the conversation using the hashtags #BuildingLife and #WGBW2019.
Tell us what action you’ll take to contribute to #BuildingLife and share it with our custom graphic or a photo. Example pledges include:
Talk to your network about why reducing emissions from building and construction matters and urge them to join the #BuildingLife movement.
Lead on #BuildingLife this World Green Building Week
Invite members of your network to take part in World Green Building Week by emailing them the #WGBW2019 How To Get Involved Guide