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Global Green Group: Net Zero by 2050

Monday, July 11, 2016

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The World Green Building Council has unveiled an ambitious plan to ensure that all buildings are “net zero” in terms of energy consumption in the next 35 years.

The new initiative is an effort by the WorldGBC to take action to back up a commitment, made last December as part of the Paris Agreement. The council committed to slashing carbon dioxide emissions from the building construction industry by 84 gigatonnes by 2050. A gigatonne is equal to more than 1 billion U.S. tons.

Net zero window installation
By National Institute of Standards and Technology, via Wikimedia Commons

“Net zero energy” refers to buildings for which net energy use on an annual basis is zero, through a combination of efficient building and onsite, renewable energy generation, such as solar panels.

According to WorldGBC, the project involves working closely with those countries that are expected to build the most net-zero, energy efficient new construction in the coming years, ensuring that this kind of construction continues to become more common.

Defining ‘Net Zero’

“Net zero,” in WorldGBC’s parlance, refers to buildings that are “net zero energy” or “net zero carbon.” “Net zero energy” refers to buildings for which net energy use on an annual basis is zero, through a combination of efficient building and onsite, renewable energy generation, such as solar panels. “Net zero carbon” buildings create no net carbon emissions annually, in some cases taking into account carbon offsets.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a common definition for net zero, calling it "an energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy."

WorldGBC CEO Terri Willis
World Green Building Council

“Getting down to zero won’t be easy,” says WorldGBC CEO Terri Willis.

WorldGBC’s plan involves a 2030 goal for all new construction and renovations to meet net-zero standards. The group wants 75,000 industry pros to be trained in net-zero building by 2030 to help bring that goal about.

Member Councils

WorldGBC is a network of Green Building Councils in nations around the world; it currently has more than 100 member organizations. The group says councils in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden will all be part of the initial work for the net-zero project, as will sustainable design nonprofit Architecture 2030.

Training and certification, along with the creation of standards and work with governments on net-zero programs, will be the most notable aspects of the early phase of the initiative, according to WorldGBC.

“Getting down to zero won’t be easy,” says WorldGBC CEO Terri Willis. “This will be a long and challenging road but together with the dedication and expertise of our Green Building Councils and partners, we can create a thriving market for highly efficient buildings and make net zero the new normal.”


Tagged categories: Energy efficiency; Green building; Net Zero Energy ; Worker training; World Green Building Council

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