The UN’s good resolutions
ADEME is a founding member of the Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative (SBCI) developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Bringing together public and private stakeholders, it aims to promote high environmental quality construction and building practices with the lowest possible life cycle climate impact.
Launched in 2006, the SBCI is an international platform for public entities, research centres, private stakeholders, international and inter-governmental networks along with other UN initiatives. “All the stakeholders share a common goal, but have different interests, demands, means and assessment systems, hence the importance of working together given the challenges the construction and building industries are facing”, explains Stéphane Pouffary, International Projects Coordinator and expert in the SBCI’s Climate Change working group.
Many challenges ahead
In a context of energy constraint and climate urgency, construction and building activities have a particular place as the built environment accounts for over one third of energy consumed worldwide and over 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, the latest report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) stated that this sector has the highest potential for the reduction of its emissions by using available techniques and process with a very positive cost-benefit approach. In addition, it is patently obvious that this sector is severely underrepresented in international Kyoto Protocol mechanisms: “At the end of last year, of the current 4,500 clean development mechanism (CDM) projects, only 12 concern energy demand of buildings. These figures indicate the need for a innovative approach, especially when taking into account social and economic issues,” explains Stéphane Pouffary.
The SBCI’s contribution is structured around four areas of focus: provide the relevant stakeholders with a common international platform, improve the building industry’s integration of Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, support the introduction of policies adapted to each country and, lastly, organise a global assessment system using an approach based on life-cycle analysis. “For ADEME, this means sharing its experience and inspiring better practices. The latest documents published last year include concrete recommendations for this sector. It is urgent to act because each year billions of square metres are built and also because of the the incredible volume of existing buildings that need appropriate renovation”, concludes Stéphane Pouffary.