Green buildings meeting local needs, tackling global climate change (UK)

London Mayor Boris Johnson will be a keynote speaker at the launch of a new report from the World Green Building Council today (September 20) at the start of World Green Building Week.

'Tackling Global Climate Change, Meeting Local Priorities' highlights how green buildings worldwide provide the most cost-effective way of tackling climate change, but crucially can also play a valuable role in meeting local needs, whether for affordable housing, job creation or in response to natural disasters.

Speaking at the UK Green Building Council launch of the report, the London Mayor will say that greening the capital's existing housing stock through large-scale retrofitting programs aimed at the residential and public sector is a key priority in order to stimulate a low carbon economy and also create jobs in the green sector.

London has a target to offer 200,000 domestic homes a free carbon makeover as part of its RE:NEW program and is offering all public sector buildings a financing mechanism under the RE:FIT program that guarantees carbon and financial savings from pre-selected energy services companies. IN total, 42 public buildings including police and fire stations in the Greater London Authority have already taken part in the RE:FIT scheme delivering £1 million savings off fuel bills.

The 'Pay As You Save' approach to retrofitting that will form the UK Government's Green Deal was one of the measures promoted by the UK Green Building Council and highlighted in this report.

Buildings are one of the largest consumers of energy, accounting for between 30-40% of global energy use . In the UK buildings will have to almost entirely eliminate their carbon emissions if the country is to meet its legally binding target of an 80% cut in carbon across the economy by 2050.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "London's scale and size means there are significant financial opportunities stemming from the environmental imperative to cut carbon emissions from buildings. We are calling on financial institutions to step forward and support our programs to create the mechanisms that will enable us to use the savings that come from slashing energy use to fund the upfront costs involved in making buildings energy efficient. Not only will this help stimulate the low carbon economy in London, but it will develop a whole new generation of 'green-collar' jobs.

"We are also determined to shape a legacy from the 2012 Games which raises the bar for sustainable design and construction, contributing to the creation of a vibrant new metropolitan quarter in east London as well as within the Olympic park itself."

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) said: "This report shows that greening our buildings not only tackles climate change, but can also play a crucial role in meeting local socio-economic needs, which in the UK includes job creation and lower energy bills. The challenges facing countries around the world may vary locally, but a common theme remains – the importance of a sustainable built environment in providing communities with a high quality of life."

Jane Henley, Chief Executive of the World Green Building Council said: "Buildings are simply the most cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions and policy-makers around the world must recognize this at the upcoming international negotiations in Mexico."
The report brings together case studies from across four continents, which provide evidence of how green buildings have been used effectively to meet local needs such as providing affordable housing or creating local jobs, while cutting carbon.

Source: UK Green Building Council

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