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Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment gains 100 signatories

Five more companies have joined the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, bringing the total number of signatories to 100 and doubling participation in the programme in just over a year.

Since inception, the businesses and organisations signed up to the Commitment, created by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), now cover nearly 6,000 assets, over 32 million m2 total floor area and $100 billion in annual turnover.

This means that the operational portfolio emissions of these signatories will be at net zero by 2030, affecting approximately 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 (tCO2e).

WorldGBC is now calling for governments to #ActOnClimate as part of the 11th annual World Green Building Week event, happening 21 to 25 September 2020.

The signatories range from small and medium enterprises to large, multi-national corporations, and span engineering, design and consultancy services to real estate owners and manufacturing.

The latest signatories are Mott MacDonald, QIC Global Real Estate (QIC), United Metal Coating LLC, Bioconstrucción y Energía Alternativa and Tritax Big Box.

For these five signatories, the Commitment is one of three pathways to become a member of EP100 fromThe Climate Group, a global initiative for energy-smart companies doing more with less energy.

“Achieving this milestone, in less than two years since the launch, demonstrates the growing importance of net zero carbon buildings to governments, businesses and mayors”, said Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council. “As countries look to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, there is an opportunity for net zero buildings to provide benefits for people, the planet and economies. By positioning net zero carbon buildings at the core of these recovery efforts, governments and policymakers can harness the incredible potential of net zero buildings to build back better and enable a green recovery.

“I congratulate our new signatories on their commitment and for demonstrating the level of ambition and leadership required by both public and private sector actors going forward.”

The new companies and organisations are committed to ensuring that all assets they own, occupy and/or develop under their direct control will operate at net zero carbon by 2030, or earlier.

The Commitment is unique in positioning energy efficiency as a central component to achieving decarbonisation across global portfolios, in addition to generating and procuring renewable energy to meet reduced energy demand. This represents the most cost-effective, best-practice approach to ensuring buildings are fit for purpose, future-proofed against climate impacts, and able to provide healthy and comfortable environments.

The Climate Group’s Corporate Partnerships Director, Mike Peirce said: “Congratulations to World Green Building Council on passing this exciting milestone. Faster business and government action to clean up the built environment is critical to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. We applaud all of the signatories leading by example and welcome the latest EP100 members. Smarter energy use will help them achieve net zero carbon buildings and generate substantial financial savings annually — it’s no wonder more and more companies are seizing this huge business opportunity.”

The full list of the Commitment signatories comprises 68 businesses and organisations including developers, real estate investment and property funds, manufacturers and global design firms, 28 cities including London, New York and Tokyo, and six states and regions including California and Scotland.

Businesses, governments, organisations and individuals are encouraged to sign the World Green Building Week’s Call to Action Statement which is intended to galvanise governments to take urgent action for the decarbonisation of buildings. More information on the week, can be found at www.worldgbc.org/worldgreenbuildingweek.

Greener office spaces boost bottom line and staff productivity, says WorldGBC…

A report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) reveals the impact building owners, designers, developers and employers are having by investing in greener office spaces.

Released under the organisation’s ‘Better Places for People’ campaign, the document pinpoints the global drive behind implementing green and healthy office operation and design, and showcases 15 buildings that are ‘leading the way’. 

As a result of improving noise levels, layout, lighting and indoor air quality at its office in Doncaster, Skanska cut sick days by two-thirds; in turn saving the company £28,000 in staff costs in 2015.

Terri Wills, CEO of the WorldGBC said: “While our earlier work presented the overwhelming evidence between office design and improved health and wellbeing of workers, this report breaks new ground by demonstrating tangible action businesses are taking to improve their workspaces. The results are clear – putting both health and wellbeing, and the environment, at the heart of buildings, is a no brainer for businesses’ employees and the bottom line.”

The report identifies eight key factors in creating healthier and greener offices which can impact on the bottom line:

  1. Indoor air quality and ventilation – a well-ventilated office can double cognitive ability.
  2. Thermal comfort – staff performance can fall six per cent if offices are too hot and four per cent if they too cold.
  3. Daylighting and lighting– a study found workers in offices with windows got 46 minutes more sleep a night than workers without them.
  4. Noise and acoustics – noise distractions led to 66 per cent drop in performance and concentration.
  5. Interior layout and active design – flexible working helps staff to feel more in control of their workload and encourages loyalty.
  6. Biophilia and views – processing time at one call centre improved by sven-12 per cent when staff had a view of nature.
  7. Look and feel – visual appeal is a major factor in workplace satisfaction.
  8. Location and access to amenities – a Dutch cycle to work scheme saved €27m in absenteeism.

Beth Ambrose, director within the Upstream Sustainability Services team at JLL, and chair of the WorldGBC Offices Working Group added: “The business case for healthy buildings is being proven. All over the world, companies, both large and small, are redesigning their offices, changing working practices and trialling new technologies, to improve the wellbeing of their staff, tenants and customers.” 
Access the full document here