The Urban Land Institute (ULI) is joining more than 20 other global organizations to position real estate as contributing to solutions regarding climate change and protecting the environment. The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) will advance the real estate industry’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint on a worldwide scale.
ULI is a global research and education institute with more than 36,000 members worldwide dedicated to leadership in land use. The agreement to form the alliance was signed in Paris earlier this month on behalf of ULI by Helen Gurfel, executive director of the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance during “Buildings Day,” an event held in conjunction with the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Currently, the built environment is responsible for at least 30 percent of the carbon emissions released worldwide. The purpose of Buildings Day was held to raise awareness of actions that the building and construction industry is taking and can take to reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy consumption and improve the quality of the environment on a global scale.
“We are very excited to help launch the formation of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction,” Gurfel said. “Being part of this diverse group with such extraordinary reach will help greatly in advancing ULI’s work to promote environmentally conscious operations development practices around the world. Real estate has a significant role to play in mitigating climate change and creating resilient communities. What, where and how we reposition existing properties and develop new ones is an important part of the solution.”
The formation of the alliance provides an opportunity to unite organizations around the world that are collectively committed to:
- Putting the buildings and construction sector on a course to help limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius
- Aligning existing initiatives, commitments and programs to achieve greater scale and increase the pace of efficiency actions
- Catalyzing stronger collaboration and targeting sectoral and cross sectoral action and solutions for all
The goals of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction fit well with efforts by the Greenprint Center to reduce the carbon emissions and energy consumption of commercial buildings. Part of ULI’s Center for Sustainability, Greenprint is a worldwide alliance of leading real estate owners, investors, and strategic partners committed to improving the environmental performance of the global real estate industry.
Through measurement, benchmarking, knowledge sharing and education, Greenprint’s mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, which is in line with the goals of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since Greenprint began tracking building performance in 2009, its members have reduced their emissions and energy consumption by 11 percent, which is well on target to meet the 2030 reduction goal. Its most recent building performance report is based on more than 5,200 property submissions representing 112 million square meters across 51 countries.
“With Greenprint’s considerable expertise, ULI can advance the GABC initiatives through a variety of activities, such as analyzing data to support action in existing buildings, sharing operational or technological best practices, and assembling real estate owners and investors around the common cause of reducing emissions from the built environment, Gurfel said. “By engaging with the global private commercial real estate sector, ULI can help reduce carbon emissions and catalyze greater action within the industry.”
In addition to ULI, other organizations endorsing the formation of GABC are: the United Nations Environment Programme, France; Architecture 2030; Climate Technology Centre and Network; Energy-cities; Global Buildings Performance Network; Global Environment Facility; ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability; Institut de la Francophonie pour le Developpement Durable; International Energy Agency; International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation; International Union of Architects; The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; Sustainable Energy for All Initiative; 10-Year Framework of Programmes Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme; The Energy and Resources Institute; UNEP Global District Energy in Cities Initiative; UNEP-Finance Initiative; UNEP-Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative; UN-HABITAT; World Business Council for Sustainable Development; World Green Building Council; World Resources Institute; Reseau Habitat et Francophonie; Global District Energy in Cities Initiative; Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency; the Brazilian Sustainable Construction Council; Cooperative Research Council for Low Carbon Living; Federation Francaise du Batiment; and the European Construction Industry Federation.