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2022-01-26 | Zsolt Toth, Jonathan Volt, Sibyl Steuwer
BPIE

Background: Climate change action is time critical. There is an immediate need to focus policy and market actions on emission reductions across the entire life cycle of buildings as these are very quickly using up the remaining carbon budget left before the tipping point of an irreversible climate crisis. This provides a compelling reason for policymakers to address all sources of carbon emissions from the buildings and construction sector, including both embodied and operational carbon – together referred to as “whole-life” carbon (WLC) emissions. Reducing embodied emissions is a global challenge that offers significant carbon reduction potential. Some countries in Europe (one of the leading regions addressing this challenge) have introduced policies to reduce whole-life carbon emissions from buildings and construction, with further national and EU-level initiatives expected in the near future. The ongoing review of key policy and legislative files provides a significant opportunity for the EU to begin consistently integrating WLC in the policy framework. About this roadmap: This roadmap for integrating WLC in the policy framework primarily focuses on the pending review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) but also makes links to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The cornerstones of how to fully decarbonise the European Union’s building stock along its entire lifecycle must be laid now. Member States but also private actors need guidance and security to direct investments and set the framework to steer the required actions and trigger innovation. Considering the next revision is only planned by end of 2027, the time to get this right is now. BPIE's new roadmap sets out the necessary steps to introduce WLC considerations and align the provisions of the EPBD with climate-neutrality goals.

2021-12-23
PEEB

10% of emissions from energy come from building materials and construction. We need to rethink how we construct our buildings. From resource-efficient designs with a longer lifetime, circular economy approaches and “urban mining” to increasing the market share of alternative building materials and decarbonising conventional materials like cement and steel, the solutions are there.

This PEEB Working Paper summarizes the key facts on embodied carbon, and presents practical strategies during planning, design and construction, as well as for building materials.  To promote action on embodied carbon, it lays out how policy and financing can address this. 

2022-03-06 | ADEME, Resallience, French Ministry of Ecological Transition
GlobalABC Adaptation Working Group

UN Secretary-General calls latest IPCC WG1 Climate Report a ‘Code Red for Humanity’, stressing ‘irrefutable’ evidence of human influence, and that “climate impacts will undoubtedly worsen”.

Data collected over the recent decades shows that the climate is currently changing at an unprecedented pace due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since 2007, as shown in the latest IPCC report. Climate change will have especially severe consequences all over the world for a built environment designed for steady conditions and for the communities that inhabit them. Understanding these consequences will require the use of projected climate data from RCP models on different spatial scales and several time horizons.

Therefore, GlobalABC is proposing “10 Principles for Effective Action” to policymakers and practitioners to join forces and spread climate change adaptation actions in the building sector and willing to track annual progress.

To support these 10 Principles please contact the GlobalABC Adaptation Working Group at globalabc.adaptationwg@o-immobilierdurable.fr.

Download the 10 principles below!

2021-11-02
WBCSD

Race to Zero Built Environment System Map – Market Transformation Intro from Nexial on Vimeo.

The built environment is a critical sector to tackle if we are to reach the climate mitigation targets set out in the Paris Agreement, as it represents close to 40% of global energy-related GHG emissions (almost 14 Gt per year) and 50% of global resource extraction.  
Action and collaboration are needed immediately from all stakeholders to achieve the paradigm shift to a net-zero and resilient built environment. If action is not taken today, we risk locking emissions and vulnerability into our buildings and infrastructure that will become increasingly costly to mitigate in the future. (Climate Action Pathway, Human Settlements, Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action)
To decarbonize the built environment, whole-life carbon emissions (operational and embodied) must be assessed and tracked on all new and existing developments to determine how best to minimize emissions while ensuring resilience for the future. System decarbonization requires demanding less material, minimizing energy use, and implementing low-carbon and renewable heating, cooling, material and construction technologies at scale, while promoting the decarbonization of the energy, transportation, and material manufacturing sectors (e.g. steel and cement) in parallel. 

Recognizing this, GlobalABC's Work Area 3 'Market Transformation' identified two enablers and three fundamental levers to drive the market transformation along the full value chain of the built environment.

Download the article below to discover them!

2021-10-19

The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction is a reference document published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC). This year's edition finds that in 2020, the sector accounted for 36 per cent of global final energy consumption and 37 per cent of energy related CO2 emissions, as compared to other end use sectors. While the level of emissions within the sector are 10 per cent lower than in 2019, reaching lows not seen since 2007, this was largely due to lockdowns, slowing of economies, difficulties households and businesses faced in maintaining and affording energy access and a fall in construction activity. Efforts to decarbonize the sector played only a small role.

Global Energy and Emissions 2021 Buildings GSR

Collectively, stakeholders in the sector must seize the opportunity that the COVID-19 economic recovery period offers to foster transformation for decarbonizing the sector. The sector must simultaneously meet a projected near-doubling of global demand for energy services in buildings and at least a doubling of floor space as developing economies continue to respond to the growing demand for building floor space, access to energy services and economic activities.

 

2021-08-31 | CRAterre, Florie Dejeant, Philippe Garnier, Thierry Joffroy
Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires Etrangères

This report aims to promote a sustainable development approach to meet the immense needs in terms of construction in Africa, based on a rational and sustainable use of local materials. To this end, it presents the advantages, challenges and conditions of use of these materials. It presents examples of technical solutions illustrated by a panorama of the potential resources of the territories (bio and geo-sourced). It provides elements of analysis of the impact of local "short circuit" channels and elements of methodology. It also highlights the need to match architectural design with the specific characteristics of locally available materials, which can be summed up as: "the right material in the right place".

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Cet ouvrage vise à promouvoir une approche Développement Durable pour répondre aux immenses besoins en matière de construction en Afrique, en se basant sur une utilisation rationnelle et durable des matériaux locaux. Pour cela, il présente les avantages, les enjeux et les conditions d'utilisation de ces matériaux. Il présente des exemples de solutions techniques illustrés par un panorama des ressources potentielles des territoires (bio et géosourcés). Il fournit des éléments d’analyse de l’impact des filières locales en « circuit court » et des éléments de méthodologie. Il met aussi en valeur la nécessaire adéquation entre conception architecturale et caractéristiques spécifiques des matériaux disponibles localement, ce qui se résume bien par : « le bon matériau au bon endroit »

2021-07-28 | GlobalABC, ICLEI
Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action

The GlobalABC is co-lead of the Built Environment Track of the Human Settlements Pathway!

The Human Settlements are one of the Thematic Areas of the Climate Action Pathways, which are a vital part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) tools to enhance climate action and ambition towards fully implementing the Paris Agreement. The Pathways aim to provide a roadmap to help Parties and non-Party stakeholders alike to identify actions needed by 2025, 2030 and 2040 as steps to get to the 2050 vision of a 1.5°C resilient world. In this regard, the climate action pathway for human settlements addresses whole-life carbon mitigation, adaptation and resilience in the built environment, as well as waste and consumption within human settlements.

Restricting climate change to 1.5°C would need “rapid and far-reaching” changes around energy use, industry and buildings design, as well as the wider planning of cities and infrastructure. The buildings and construction sector currently account for almost 40% of global energy and process-related carbon emissions, while around half of buildings that are predicted to exist in 2050 have yet to be built. Continuing in this direction, over 970 cities could be subjected to extreme heat, 500 cities could suffer from lack of water availability, and over 570 cities could be impacted by sea level rise by 2050. If action is not taken today, we risk locking emissions and vulnerability into our buildings and infrastructure that will become increasingly costly to mitigate in the future. Based on this critical observation, the built environment track of the Human Settlements climate action pathway outlines a set of necessary stakeholder (i.e. policy makers, financial institutions, technology providers and innovators, business and service providers and civil society) actions to be taken to accelerate the transition to a net-zero carbon, healthy and resilient built environment.

2021-07-09
World Business Council for Sustainable Development

A large part of the construction sector’s emissions come from building products and materials – referred to as embodied carbon. Embodied carbon is increasingly becoming the focus of regulatory bodies, making it a risk factor for developers and investors to price into construction projects.

This report provides guidance on how to reduce embodied carbon in buildings. The report targets developers and investors who have a unique opportunity to shape demand and drive transformation at the early stages of building projects. By doing so, they can significantly reduce the “financed” emissions across different asset classes they are invested in.

The report provides over 50 embodied carbon-reduction policies and best practices that investors and developers can adopt for their projects and guidance on how to use them. We have grouped each measure into one of the following five categories.

  • Create a carbon policy that sets out consistent requirements for all projects to follow.
  • Set targets and transparency requirements for projects to meet across all their phases.
  • Prioritize circularity – that is, less new building and more reuse and refurbishment.
  • Design optimization to use less material and to choose materials with a low carbon footprint.
  • Low-carbon procurement to ensure acquisition of materials with a low carbon footprint.

Developers and investors can use the guidance as it stands or adapt it to their needs. The measures and requirements are flexible and can easily be combined with different green building certifications or sustainability reporting systems.

2021-07-08
World Business Council for Sustainable Development

This report looks in detail at the results of six whole life cycle assessment (WLCA) case studies to illustrate some of the challenges, barriers and opportunities relating to the building industry’s carbon footprint. It aims to provide an insight into the industry’s current performance and compare it to possible net-zero trajectories.

Analyzing the whole life carbon emissions of six building projects using the WBCSD Building System Carbon Framework, the report shows that:

  • An average whole life carbon footprint of 1,800 kgCO2e/m2 was estimated across the six case studies.
  • As much as 50% of whole life carbon emissions in a building comes from embodied carbon (manufacturing of materials and the construction process) the majority of this being emitted immediately at the start of the life cycle.
  • Typically as few as six materials account for 70% of the construction-related embodied carbon.

The report identifies crucial next steps to support the sector’s journey toward decarbonization:

  • Adopt a clear definition of a net-zero building, taking into account whole life-cycle carbon.
  • Carry out WLCA on all projects, using a consistent methodology and open-source sharing of the data obtained.
  • Commit to clear, simple global targets across the buildings industry, including a valid approach to residual emissions (offsetting).
  • Develop consistent and transparent carbon intensity certification for components, systems and materials used by the industry.
  • Achieve wider collaboration as individual organizations taking action is not enough.

WBCSD developed this report in collaboration with professional service firm Arup. The authors encourage stakeholders from across the built environment to conduct whole-life carbon assessments of their projects and openly publish the results to create a body of evidence and foster shared learning.

2021-07-06 | Rajat Gupta (Oxford Brookes University), Mittul Vahanvati (RMIT University), Julia Häggström (SEfficiency), Jacob S. Halcomb (SEfficiency).
UNEP & SEfficiency

This practical guide demonstrates how buildings and community spaces can be constructed to increase their resilience to climate change, especially in developing countries where structures are largely self-built. The publication provides an overview of the fundamental types of interventions at the building scale, including the use of nature-based solutions. 

The guide offers construction solutions to adapt to a range of different risks in various climates. For instance, it shows us how to reduce indoor heat in hot and arid climates, or how to mitigate cyclone impacts on buildings in hot and humid climates. Importantly, the report also provides us with a highly practical checklist that should be considered by government officers and development practitioners when undertaking a new building project. 

The guidance has been developed because there is a recognized need to understand good practices for climate-resilient buildings in communities that may suffer from a deficit of professionally trained architects, engineers, and other practitioners. Therefore, this note is written for a broad audience, including those with little experience in the building and construction industries.