World Green Building Week

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!

#BuildingLife #WGBW2019

 

 

 

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!

#BuildingLife #WGBW2019

 

 

 

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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.

There are a number of measures we can take to reduce operating emissions from new and existing buildings. Here are just a few examples:

  • Minimise energy use in all stages of a building’s lifecycle, making new and renovated buildings more comfortable and less expensive to run, and helping building users learn to be efficient too. 
  • Integrate renewable and low carbon technologies to supply buildings’ energy needs, once their design has maximised inbuilt and natural efficiencies. 

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.

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. In other words, the carbon emitted during the “before use” and “after use” stages of a building’s life.

Operational carbon refers to the carbon emitted during the “in use” stage of a building’s lifecycle.

  • If you’re a product manufacturer, seek out ways to source, produce and transport materials more sustainably.
  • If you’re responsible for designing buildings, consider designing with sustainability in mind to enhance resource efficiency and reduce harmful emissions to protect the environment.
  • If you’re responsible for the construction process of a building, promote sustainable construction practices and ideally use sustainably sourced, locally available materials to reduce construction site and transport emissions.
  • Promote deconstruction as opposed to demolition and seek to reuse and recycle as many materials as possible to close the loop, saving precious resources.

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:

  • Establish a broadly accepted definition of net zero embodied carbon 

  • Communicate globally the urgency and deadlines for goals to achieving net zero embodied carbon buildings 

  • Set a global framework for actions at a voluntary and policy level to drive change
  • Explain and demonstrate the feasibility of these goals, deadlines and actions 

  • Generally, create a conversation around the value and importance of embodied carbon with the aim of creating and stimulating market demand for transparency, improvements, and verification of embodied carbon reductions 


The report will be released in September 2019 during World Green Building Week.

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:

  • Demand side - real estate sector
  • Supply side - materials and industry
  • Policymakers - from cities, states and regions, and national governments

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.

  • 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions are attributed to buildings.
  • 28% of this is buildings in operation, predominantly for heating, cooling and lighting. Energy use is heavily impacted by the quality of building envelope, with emissions especially substantial in older building stock. 
  • The additional 11% of carbon emissions are attributed to emissions embodied in the construction process, which has a well-catalogued impact on air quality through its emissions released from product manufacturing and transportation, dust creation and fumes in construction and deconstruction.

For more information on the link between the built environment and air pollution, click here.

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 (available from our campaign resources page). Example pledges include:

  • This World Green Building Week, I’m building a better future by pledging to cut my energy use by 20% over a year. #BuildingLife
  • This World Green Building Week, my company pledges to use only sustainably sourced, locally available materials in construction. That’s how we’re #BuildingLife.
  • I’m building a better future by pledging to source, produce and transport materials more sustainably. #BuildingLife
  • I’m #BuildingLife by teaching my colleagues about the need to reduce embodied carbon from buildings and construction
  • This World Green Building Week, I’m building a better future by calling on my national government to enact policies for all buildings to be net zero by 2050 #BuildingLife
  • I’m building a better future by taking action to reduce emissions from my building for my children's future. #BuildingLife

Talk to your network about why reducing emissions from building and construction matters and urge them to join the #BuildingLife movement.

  • Host a #BuildingLife event in your work place to raise awareness with your colleagues on the need to reduce emissions from buildings. Think about inviting a local expert to share ideas.
  • Are you an engineer, building owner or product designer? Join your local Green Building Council for advice, information and best practices on green building. Find your local GBC here.
  • Find out more about Advancing Net Zero – our global project to achieve 100% net zero buildings by 2050.
  • Learn more about the health and wellbeing benefits of green buildings through our Better Places for People project research.
  • Write a blog or opinion piece on what you and your company are doing on reducing operational emissions and/or embodied carbon.
  • Use your website or blog to make resources available on green building operating and construction issues in your region, such as product manufacturing, construction and deconstruction practices and smart technology. 
  • If you’re a product manufacturer, seek out ways to source, produce and transport materials more sustainably.
  • If you’re responsible for designing buildings, consider designing with sustainability in mind to enhance resource efficiency and reduce harmful emissions to protect the environment.
  • If you’re responsible for the construction process of a building, promote sustainable construction practices and ideally use sustainably sourced, locally available materials to reduce construction site and transport emissions.
  • If you can influence or make decisions about how your building operates, consider ways to improve its energy efficiency whether through retrofitting, using smart technology systems or procuring a renewable energy contract.
  • If you’re a business looking to reduce the environmental impact buildings’ portfolio, join WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and pledge to make all your buildings operate at net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • If you work for a city, state or region, join the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and commit to enacting regulations to ensure that all new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050.
  • Promote deconstruction as opposed to demolition and seek to reuse and recycle as many materials and as much as possible of the building again to close the loop, saving precious resources.
  • Invite members of your network to take part in World Green Building Week by emailing them the #WGBW2019 How To Get Involved Guide - available on our campaign resources page.
WGBW campaign resources Download the materials Read More
Global Activity Map Find out what's happening during WGBW Read More
Join the movement Sign up to show your support Read More
Campaign Ambassadors 2019 See the influential sustainability leaders supporting World Green Building Week Read More