Today the world's leading green building organisations have reached a ground-breaking agreement to adopt a common global language for the measurement of the carbon footprint of buildings. Just weeks ahead of COP15 in Copenhagen, this is a critical and timely step that will enable the world to realise the unparalleled, cost-effective carbon mitigation potential of buildings, which account for around 40% of the world's energy use and 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The 'common carbon metric' will be piloted by the leading green building rating tools, and made available to all those who are dedicated to promoting the understanding and development of a green, low-carbon and sustainable built environment.
The metric is recognised by the UNEP Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative, and will be highlighted before decision-makers at the conference in Copenhagen in December.
Tony Arnel, Chair of the World Green Building Council said: "The significance of this agreement should not be underestimated. The coming together of so many leading green building organisations is unprecedented and appropriate at this critical moment in the world's response to the global challenge of climate change. Buildings account for a third of global carbon emissions and as the IPCC has demonstrated, provide by far the most cost-effective carbon reduction potential. The World GBC is delighted to have been able to play a part in this historic development and to welcome BREEAM to work in partnership with the family of leading rating tools operated by Green Building Councils."
Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said: "Just weeks before the crucial climate talks in Copenhagen, we have reached a landmark agreement - to begin to speak one international language to describe the carbon footprint of buildings, in a robust and consistent way. The coming together of the world's leading rating tools and other organizations that represent the best scientific and technical minds and advocates of green, low carbon buildings from around the globe, is a real and timely breakthrough. It demonstrates the importance of the World Green Building Council and its member Councils which have played a key role in facilitating this. From a UK-GBC point of view, I am particularly pleased that BREEAM will be working in partnership with other leading rating tools owned and operated by Green Building Councils around the world, to embed this common language of carbon metrics in its tools here in the UK."
Donna McIntire, Program Officer for Buildings and Climate Change, the UNEP Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative (SBCI) said: UNEP is delighted to represent the importance of this work in Copenhagen through its Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative to support the critical role of buildings in reducing carbon emissions. Common metrics are the keys to consistent measurement and reporting of performance opening the door for flexible mechanisms and entry into the carbon market. This agreement around the common carbon metric is timely and poised to transform the building sector to a position of true leadership for the development of a sustainable built environment."
Alfonso Ponce, Secretary of the Sustainable Building Alliance (SB Alliance) said: This represents an important moment in the evolution of the science and practice of green building. A coming together of technical minds, worldwide experience and a collaboration of organisations with global reach, provide a robust and dynamic launch pad to take buildings to the heart of global carbon mitigation action."