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GlobalABC events & regional roundtables

Towards a Buildings Breakthrough: Raising the Performance of the Built Environment

Room 412, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh USA



  • Date: Friday, 23 September 2022
  • Time: 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM EDT (GMT-4)
  • Location: Room 412, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh USA
  • Format: in-person event (no livestream)
  • Event Language: English (no translation)
  • Organized by: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • In partnership with: Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), High Performance Buildings Initiative (HPBI) Secretariat, and Green Building Alliance.

Event Description

In 2020, the buildings and construction sector accounted for 36% of global final energy consumption and 37% of energy-related CO2 emissions (UNEP/GlobalABC, 2021). The challenges to reaching high performance buildings are considerable as 82% of the people who will be added to the planet by 2030 live in countries without building energy codes or only voluntary codes. On a positive note, over 65% will live in countries that have NDCs that mention building energy efficiency and/or building codes to improve energy performance.

The building and construction sector is key for national economies globally and plays an essential role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and delivering the Paris Agreement.  Net-zero carbon emissions must be achieved across the overall building life cycle globally by no later than 2050 to achieve the Paris Agreement, and yet the sector is not on track.  The transition to high performance in the sector calls for deep, sector-wide transformation.

This event will highlight the importance of the built environment for energy performance, climate action, and quality of life. It will call for real action on the ground involving close collaboration among the actors in all sectors involved in the built environment. It will call for acceleration of the transition at global scale through deployment of ambitious national strategies and policies to improve building performance. The event will showcase the planned Buildings Breakthrough target and present the GlobalABC and HPBI as effective vehicles for attaining the target. 

A round-table will explore the link between the target, the roadmaps for action, and the HPBI, and the session will call for rapid improvement at global scale.  The session will feature International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Buildings; presentation of the global academic initiative on research and education; progress toward a UN protocol on the built environment with international thought leaders defining goals and an implementation strategy; and diverse industry actors launching an integrated strategy to decarbonize the built environment, including workforce and economic development opportunities. 


  • Highlight the Buildings Breakthrough target to be announced at COP27 
  • Present the GlobalABC Buildings and Construction roadmaps and HBPI as effective vehicles for attaining the target
  • Invite countries to join the buildings breakthrough and all stakeholders to support HPBI
  • Enhance the visibility of GlobalABC and HPBI to attract partners and stakeholders


  • Barbara-Anne Murphy (moderator), CEO, Enniscorthy Forum and Acting Director, HPBI Secretariat 
  • Jenna Cramer, President & CEO, Green Building Alliance
  • Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE
  • Majida El Ouardirhi, Secretary-General, Department for Housing and City Policy, Ministry of National Territory Planning, Urban Planning, Housing and City Policy, Kingdom of Morocco
  • Laurent Michel, Director General for Energy and Climate, Ministry of Ecological Transition, France
  • Lee McDonough, Director General, Net Zero Strategy and International, UK
  • Drew Leyburne, Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Efficiency and Technology Sector, Natural Resources Canada
  • Birgit Schwenk, Director General for Climate Action, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), Germany
  • Abhay Bakre, Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power, Government of India
  • Beth Tomlinson, Discipline Leader, Carbon and Climate, Stantec; Regional Vice Chair, ASHRAE Government Affairs Committee
  • Mark Radka, Chief, Energy and Climate Branch, UNEP