News Article
December 2, 2015

Building Efficiency Accelerator Receives $2 million Pledge at Climate Talks

Chapultepec Castle views Mexico City. Photo Credit: Boris G/Flickr

Today (December 3), during the COP21 Buildings Day, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) pledged a $2 million grant to WRI to support the implementation of local building efficiency policies and actions in cities around the world. Announcing the partnership was Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of GEF, and Andrew Steer, President and CEO of WRI. With this backing, WRI Ross Center and its partners will work with cities, mayors, businesses and civil society groups through the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) partnership to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.

The BEA is an international partnership of over two dozen organizations helping cities and sub-national governments speed the implementation of best-practice policies and projects for energy-efficient buildings. It focuses on the transformation of metropolitan real estate and construction markets, and acts as an incubator and executing partner for the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction—demonstrating and supporting national transformation to an energy efficient, low carbon built environment.

Celebrating the First-Ever Buildings Day

At the COP21 climate talks, the French government—working with the United Nations and dozens of leading government, business and non-profit signatories—hosted the first-ever “Buildings Day” on December 3. The event launched the new Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, designed to spur widespread adoption of today’s best policies and most efficient building materials, designs and technologies around the world. The Alliance aims to avoid at least 50 percent of projected growth in energy consumption through highly energy-efficient new buildings, and achieve deep renovations of existing buildings by 2030. If implemented, these measures would prevent nearly 3 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050. This would be the equivalent of taking 630 million cars off of the road for a year.

Buildings account for about 1/3 of global energy demand and 1/4 of greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings are expected to double or triple by 2050. But an alternative path is possible; with existing technologies, it is possible to reduce building energy use and related emissions by one-third by 2050—even while energy services and the floor area of buildings increase. The BEA partnership will play a large role in enabling cities to make the necessary changes to meet these goals.

What 2 Million Means for the Building Efficiency Accelerator

With GEF support, the BEA partnership will engage a total of 50 cities, of which 30 will commit to policy, projects, and tracking. Within those 30, Mexico City and 5 other cities will receive more intensive collaboration and support. Depending on the needs of the city, this may include action on coordinated city level planning, building efficiency policy prioritization and assessment, technical support, reduction targets, buildings certifications, financing, and benchmarking and disclosure policies.

Each city that joins the BEA will:

1) Commit to implement a new policy or update existing policies.

2) Undertake a project such as retrofits or implementation of efficient new buildings.

3) Measure and communicate its progress against energy and climate goals including through the ICLEI carbonn Climate Registry.

In sum, this global partnership will share best practices, leverage in-market experience and support cities aspiring to accelerate policy and project action. The primary mechanisms employed include technical assistance, development of place-based partnerships to develop joint actions of the supply and demand sides of the building efficiency market, and staffing and in-kind resources.

Jurisdictions interested in pursuing building efficiency action are invited to contact WRI and join the Building Efficiency Accelerator.