National-Subnational Collaboration at the Forefront of Greenbuild Mexico 2019
On June 17, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Sustentabilidad para México (SUMe) organized the second annual Greenbuild Mexico International Conference in Mexico City, engaging more than 500 industry leaders and interested parties.
During the conference, SUMe in collaboration with WRI México, USGBC and WorldGBC organized the "National-Subnational Collaboration for Energy Efficiency in Buildings" forum, where federal leaders, local actors and international experts convened to advance green buildings.
Inder Rivera, manager of clean energy at WRI México, noted that building stock presents a tremendous opportunity for sustainable growth. "The decisions we make today are vital for our future… [We] can make the difference in combatting the climate crisis in which we find ourselves,” he said.
Leticia Gutiérrez from Mexico City’s Ministry of Environment emphasized that energy efficiency is a central tenet of the current administration’s 20-year climate action plan, which is aligned with Mexico City’s long-term general development plan.
"We see energy efficiency as an axis within the strategies to promote sustainable energy. Decisions made today will impact the development of Mexico City over the coming decades. We focus on the means of implementation and plan to strengthen the energy efficiency program in buildings. It’s just a matter of analyzing the level of emissions we should reach. To achieve this, we will work with organizations such as WRI México, C40 and GIZ," Gutiérrez concluded.
During the forum, Odón de Buen, general director of CONUEE, said these events are ideal for putting into practice fundamental strategies for the economic and environmental growth of Mexico. He stressed that energy efficiency in buildings is an opportunity with great economic potential for the country, but there are also substantial barriers at the municipal and state level that we must overcome.
"Thermal comfort needs must be resolved by the three levels of government,” he said. “This is not the exclusive responsibility of the federal government. We need a link between all states, so that they integrate energy efficiency codes for buildings. We won’t achieve mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by increasing subsidies. If there must be subsidies, we should subsidize improvements to energy consumption."
In her speech, Regional Head Americas Network for the World Green Building Council Juanita Álvarez invited participants to identify additional barriers and think of ways to overcome them together. She also highlighted the importance of sharing experiences. "We have managed to incorporate new cities and states into the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), with which we are growing at the regional level," she said. The BEA is a public-private initiative and network of cities that turns global expertise into action to accelerate local government implementation of building efficiency programs and policies.
Alejandra Cabrera, executive director of SUMe, noted that the objective of the BEA is to promote sustainable development policies and practices, generate technical capacities, transform the future and advance global sustainability.
During the meeting, representatives for the states of Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, Campeche, Yucatan, Mexico City and Sonora shared what they each considered to be their main barrier to implementation and identified allies. They also recognized that one of their priorities is to consolidate information for benchmarking and generate national and subnational regulatory plans.
Many of the represented states are already members of the BEA, and during the meeting, the State of Yucatan signed on. The Secretary of Sustainable Development of the State of Yucatan Sayda Melina Rodríguez Gómez and the State Undersecretary of Energy Juan Carlos Vega Milke signed the MoU with the BEA, in liaison with SUMe and WRI México.
As a member of the BEA, Yucatan will benefit from technical assistance and tools to boost energy efficiency in buildings, and the state will adopt a public policy and implement a pilot program within two years.
"We are very proud to be part of the BEA network, which will allow us to move toward sustainable development and reduce greenhouse gases," concluded Rodríguez.
About the Building Efficiency Accelerator
The Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) is a partnership of businesses, NGOs and multilaterals assisting local governments to take action to improve their buildings. The BEA is coordinated by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and includes more than three dozen partners, including WorldGBC and industry co-convener Johnson Controls. The BEA is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G).
The BEA, part of the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) campaign, works with subnational governments and global and local private and civil society partners to implement policies and programs to improve buildings. In its first two years, the BEA reached 253 cities with its resources and obtained 47 commitments on building efficiency action from 32 cities in 17 countries. Learn more at buildingefficiencyaccelerator.org.