The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) has joined the new Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) launched recently at the COP21 Buildings Day in Paris. This special event at the COP21 saw global industry leaders outlining how a major carbon emitting sector such as the building and construction industry, which represents 50 per cent of global wealth, can reduce its footprint.

COP21 CRCLCL representative Dr Peter Graham, Executive Director of the Global Buildings Performance Network and leader of the CRCLCL’s Swinburne University Node of Excellence for Smart Low Carbon Built Environments in Melbourne, said the GABC launch and CRCLCL’s involvement represented a significant outcome of the Paris meetings, both globally and locally.

According to Graham, the building and construction sector is responsible for 30 per cent of global carbon emissions, which could reach 50 per cent by 2050 in the absence of any action. Given that the sector in Australia contributes 23 per cent of the country’s overall carbon emissions, the formation of the global alliance was a breakthrough development. The CRCLCL’s expertise gained through its many research and industry partnership projects will help the organisation play a key role in helping reduce Australia’s emissions.cor

Graham added that the COP has for the first time, introduced an action agenda on the building sector through the Buildings Day meeting, giving all stakeholders a chance to collaborate on research, policy and action at an international level.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recognised that if the world is to meet its goal of staying below a two-degree global increase in temperature, the building sector’s energy consumption must reduce by at least 30 per cent through new high performance, energy efficient buildings, renewables and retrofitting old buildings. Numerous collaborations across the sector and the globe would be needed to achieve these outcomes, with additional public and private investment of around $US 11,500 billion. However, energy cost savings could exceed this investment by more than 100 per cent by 2050. 

CRCLCL CEO and Scientia Professor Deo Prasad AO said this reinforces the importance of the CRC’s projects, which are important to the alliance and have much to contribute.

Professor Prasad explains that CRCLCL’s expertise is multi-disciplinary covering design, planning, policy, sciences, engineering and social behaviour change research including better governance and business models for deploying low carbon buildings, cities and communities. The organisation is, therefore, in a strong position to contribute to significant global capacity building, knowledge and tools provision to underpin the mission of the alliance.