Terri Wills

The World Green Building Council has mobilised its global strength in the building sector and formalised its strategy to meet promises made at COP21 last year.

WorldGBC chief executive Terri Wills said targets for the Advancing Net Zero program included all new buildings and major renovations meeting net zero standards from 2030, training of 75,000 professionals worldwide by 2030 and all green building councils that operate certification schemes having a net zero tool in place by 2030.

“Getting down to zero won’t be easy,” Ms Wills said.

After the Brexit fiasco in the UK, which looks likely to set back the climate change agenda, even more pressure will be heaped on building owners and managers to pick up the failings spawned by the anti-globalisation movement.

The Advancing Net Zero initiative involves green building councils from Australia, Brazil, Canada, German, India, the Netherlands, South Arica and Sweden initially, with Architecture 2030 as lead partner to provide technical expertise.

The project puts into action the COP 21 commitment made by the WorldGBC and its 74 green building councils to reduce CO2 emissions from the buildings sector by 84 gigatonnes by 2050.

“Net zero buildings will be a defining contribution in our efforts to tackle climate change,” Ms Wills said.

Participating GBCs will develop action plans and launch specific national net zero certifications, in the form of a stand-alone program or added to existing certification tools such as Green Star.

The organisations will also create specific net zero training for green building professionals and support development of demonstration projects within their jurisdictions.

Chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia Romilly Madew, said the property and construction industry understood how to deliver low-carbon assets.

“All those Green Star ratings are positive proof,” she said. “Our next challenge is to move beyond ‘low carbon’ to ‘no carbon’.”

The GBCA has been working with NABERS and the federal Department of the Environment to adapt the government’s Carbon Neutral Standard for buildings and precincts, she said.

“Our participation in the Advancing Net Zero project reinforces Australia’s international sustainability leadership, and strengthens international collaboration as we work towards a zero carbon future worldwide.”

Architecture 2030 founder and chief executive Edward Mazria said the project reflected the “monumental transformation underway in the building sector”.

“With a number of GBCs worldwide beginning to develop net zero certifications, we are witnessing an accelerated global market shift.”

Ms Wills said: “This will be a long and challenging road but together with the dedication and expertise of our Green Building Councils and partners, we can create a thriving market for highly efficient buildings and make net zero the new normal.