Monday 1, August 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC), an independent forum aimed at conserving the environment by strengthening and promoting green building practices, has joined hands with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy for initiatives to double the rate of energy efficiency in buildings by 2030.

This follows the new partnership between the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and the World Resources Institute-led Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), whereby Green Building Councils across the world are joining forces with leading cities to dramatically ramp up energy efficiency within buildings. The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy is a member of BEA.

EmiratesGBC is only one of four GBCs globally to work with the governmental authorities on the new initiative. It joins counterparts in Colombia, Poland and South Africa, to work with city officials to define the best action they can take to make efficiency improvements and receive market buy-in from those who will help to deliver these energy savings.

The work is being undertaken as part of the BEA, a public-private partnership of cities, businesses and organisations which aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The BEA is one of six accelerators under Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), an initiative led by the United Nations Secretary-General, and is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

As one of the larger delivery partners under the BEA, WorldGBC and the participating Green Building Councils, including EmiratesGBC, are turning climate finance into concrete, timely and measurable action in cities in the wake of COP21.

This includes Green Building Councils providing direct support to the city governments mentioned above, while WorldGBC will primarily share resources and build capacity around the value of green building certification programmes which can operate at a national but also local level.

Announcing the partnership at the Green Building Council of South Africa’s annual convention in Johannesburg, Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, said: “Cities and the buildings which make them up consume around 75 percent of global energy, putting them at the coal face of our fight against climate change. But whilst they are a major consumer of energy, cities also have huge potential to dramatically reduce energy use, with buildings offering one of the most effective ways to do so. Through collaboration with cities, our Green Building Councils will provide on-the-ground expertise to help realise this opportunity.”

Saeed Al Abbar, Chairman of EmiratesGBC, said: “We value our strong working relationships with key government agencies across the UAE. With Dubai expressing interest to join the Building Efficiency Accelerator, we now have another tangible platform to further strengthen energy efficiency initiatives that are aligned with the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy and the Dubai Plan 2021. Helping the city to establish a policy or programme that will make a meaningful impact on the energy efficiency of its buildings is fundamental to our mission, and we’re delighted to be involved in this partnership through WorldGBC.”

HE Ahmed Butti Mehairbi, Secretary General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, added: “In line with the Dubai Integrated Energy strategy, which aims to reduce 30 per cent of the energy demand by 2030 as well as the demand side management programmes including building retrofit, the Building Efficiency Accelerator is an important programme for Dubai, particularly in energy security. We are pleased to join Building Efficiency Accelerator, which would help to foster a culture of efficiency in existing and new buildings. It allows us to evaluate the best practices and benefit from the experiences of other cities to ensure a sustainable environment for future generations.”

Jennifer Layke, Director, Building Efficiency Initiative, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, World Resources Institute, said: “Cities are powerful leaders: as owners, investors and regulators, they shape the sustainability of our future. Buildings that are efficient improve the productivity of both people and energy systems. By joining forces, the WorldGBC and the Building Efficiency Accelerator support the success of policy and project action taken by all cities: those that are inspirational examples and those that aspire to do much more.”

Reducing energy in buildings is essential if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. Energy used in buildings often accounts for half of all carbon emissions of some cities, while buildings in some larger cities can be responsible for up to 80 per cent of emissions. Given that two thirds of the world’s population are expected to live in cities by 2050, this places a further demand for buildings that are energy efficient and that enable a high quality of life.

Further Green Building Councils are expected to join the BEA through WorldGBC as the partnership develops.