The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) sees an excellent opportunity for the built environment industry to achieve low carbon goals, following the historic Paris climate agreement.

GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew says they applaud the commitment of the nearly 200 nations who have signed up to the Paris climate agreement, and who have pledged to ensure global warming remains below the critical two degrees Celsius mark.

According to Madew, it was important to recognise the role of buildings in achieving deep emissions cuts economically and quickly using proven and readily-available technologies. The inaugural COP Buildings Day, held on 3 December, recognised the role played by buildings in helping nations meet their ambitious targets.

The GBCA is keen to work with both government and industry nationally to ensure the built environment can meet its emissions reduction potential. This would demand a range of coordinated, complementary measures that target buildings and encourage innovative precinct-scale energy solutions.

Noting that the green industry has a well-deserved reputation as a world leader in sustainability, having topped the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for five years running, she said that Australia has more than 1000 Green Star certified projects, which together save the equivalent of 128,000 average households’ electricity use, and 625,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. This is equivalent to removing 175,000 cars from the roads.

She added that the industry understood how to deliver low-carbon buildings and only needed the right policies and funding platforms to achieve these goals on a much larger scale.

Madew concludes that the GBCA’s challenge next year would be to help industry move beyond ‘low carbon’ to ‘no carbon’. GBCA will also be working on its net zero label, which will recognise and reward projects that make a positive contribution to the environment.