From thousands to billions: coordinated action towards 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050

Sustainable building design and construction Energy consumption Greenhouse gas mitigation
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The signing of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 was rightly hailed as a truly historic moment in the fight against climate change.

It marked the start of the most important race in our existence – the race to curb global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so that global temperature rise remains below 2 degrees Celsius and, ideally, below 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also set a clear timeline for how quickly the world must change its course so that, by 2050, all major business sectors are operating in a state of essentially zero carbon emissions. In this race, each sector will identify its own goals and path. Since the building and construction sector is responsible for around 30% of global energy consumption and the associated GHGs, this sector will play a significant role in finding the solutions. What that means for the building and construction sector is nothing short of a dramatic and ambitious transformation towards a completely zero carbon built environment.

For this reason, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is calling for the dual goals of:

  • All new buildings must operate at net zero carbon from 2030: Net zero carbon buildings must become standard business practice as soon as possible, so we build right from the start; avoid the need for future major retrofits; and prevent the lock-in of carbon emitting systems for decades to come.  
  • 100% of buildings must operate at net zero carbon by 2050: Existing buildings require not only an acceleration of current renovation rates, but these renovations must be completed to a net zero carbon standard so that all buildings are net zero carbon in operation by 2050.

WorldGBC believes that only through concerted action of three core groups of actors, can we achieve these goals; Business, Government and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Publication Details
Publication place:
London and Toronto