EmiratesGBC Urges Entities Region-Wide to Commit to Net Zero Carbon Buildings

Press release
Published August 30th, 2018 - 06:33 GMT
Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emirates Green Building Council
Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emirates Green Building Council

Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, has called upon all businesses, entities, and cities in the United Arab Emirates and the region to formally endorse and sign the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.  

Announced globally by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment challenges businesses and organisations across the world to take advanced climate action by setting ambitious targets to eliminate operational carbon emissions from their building portfolios by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to be Net Zero in operation by 2050. These targets are set to meet the Paris Agreement ambition of below 2 degrees of global warming. This month, 19 global cities, representing 130 million urban citizens, committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030.

The Commitment’s aim is to generate the next wave of high momentum to cut down global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and inspire national governments to step up national climate action plans over the next two years. More cities, states and regions are set to commit to enact regulations or planning policy to drive construction of new buildings operating at net zero carbon from 2030, and enable all existing buildings to operate at net zero carbon by 2050. This will spur the market to develop the capacity to meet this increased demand and demonstrate market readiness for a more aggressive national strategy.

Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emirates Green Building Council, said: “We will not have sufficient time to reach the Paris Agreement targets, which calls on decarbonizing the global economy within 20-30 years, if we delay action. We need to achieve tangible results and the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment is a unique opportunity to ambitiously work toward reducing energy demand and controlling carbon emissions. This calls for the concerted efforts of all – governments, businesses, civil society organisations and the public at large – to achieve the significant milestone that will be our true investment in the future for our upcoming generations.  I am very proud that Majid Al Futtaim, who are active Board Members of EmiratesGBC, are among the first three organisations globally to sign up the commitment, thus demonstrating the UAE’s global leadership in sustainable development.  I encourage the private sector to follow this lead and position their organisations as global leaders in sustainability.”

The Commitment opened for recruitment in June, and will be formally launched at the Global Climate Action Summit taking place in San Francisco in September where states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society are committing to Taking Ambition to the Next Level.

In order to ensure tangible results, signatories are required to track, verify and report publicly on building performance metrics with a focus on energy use and associated emissions. These leaders will also advocate through their core business activities for all suppliers and partners across their supply chain to follow their own commitment to drastically reduce emissions.

Furthermore, the Commitment proves that the building and construction sector can and must play a key role in achieving large scale emissions reduction. Globally, almost 40% of energy related greenhouse emissions come from buildings, with 28% coming from the operations of buildings.

Energy efficiency will dramatically reduce the world’s energy needs, enabling a much faster transition to renewables which will help cut down fossil fuel energy production sooner. Globally, energy efficiency measures could contribute a 48% reduction of global emissions by 2030, with 43% of those coming from buildings according to the International Energy Agency.

EmiratesGBC has recently established the Net Zero Centre of Excellence think tank and accelerator, to provide an important platform for government, academia and the private sector to learn and share knowledge on how to advance net zero carbon buildings in the UAE. Promoting the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in the UAE, and the region, delivers on the objectives of the Centre of Excellence to engage as many entities as possible in this global movement. 

EmiratesGBC’s seventh annual Congress on October 9, 2018 will also share a focus on Net Zero and will be held under the theme ‘Targeting Zero: A Vision for Future Cities.’ The Congress will mark a regional first with an in-depth discussion on the Net Zero Energy Building movement as well as to continue to advocate for the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment as a significant step to create net zero cities.

Entities in the UAE interested in the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and/or the 7th Annual EmiratesGBC Congress can contact the EmiratesGBC office at engagement@emiratesgbc.org.

EmiratesGBC regularly hosts and participates in multinational events, conferences and forums. It has also developed a suite of activities, inclusive of networking events, technical workshops, focus days and facilitated training based around specific issues related to the built-environment that meet the needs of its members, of the UAE community, and the wider Middle East.

Background Information

Emirates Green Building Council

The Emirates Green Building Council (Emirates GBC) was formed in 2006, with the goal of advancing green building principles for protecting the environment and ensuring sustainability in the United Arab Emirates.

Since the inception of the Emirates GBC in 2006, there has been significant change in the attitudes and demands related to the sustainable built environment. It has been encouraged by the implementation of green building policies and regulations, by the adoption of consistent rating systems, and by the increase in the overall knowledge sharing and information available on built environments and communities.

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