GBCA joins ground breaking project to build a carbon zero future

28 Jun 2016

28 JUN 2016

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has joined forces with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) to deliver on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and tackle climate change.

The Advancing Net Zero project will see the WorldGBC and green building councils in countries with some of the fastest growth trajectories for construction launch national ‘net zero’ building certification and training programs.

The GBCA joins GBCs from Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden, and other not-for-profit organisations, in committing to national net zero or carbon zero certification.

“The pledge to ensure global warming remains below the critical two degrees Celsius mark must be followed with real-world action,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

“Our built environment presents some of the cheapest and fastest opportunities to reduce our emissions – and we can do this with proven and readily-available technologies.

“The property and construction industry understands how to deliver low-carbon assets – all those Green Star ratings are positive proof. Our next challenge is to move beyond ‘low carbon’ to ‘no carbon’.

“Last year, we committed to recognise buildings, fitouts, and communities that achieve ‘net zero’, or even deliver positive outcomes in terms of energy, carbon or water.

“Over the past six months, we have been working with NABERS and the Department of the Environment to adapt the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Standard for buildings and precincts. This is the next step to bring our work and commitments to the international stage.

“Our participation in the Advancing Net Zero project reinforces Australia’s international sustainability leadership, and strengthens international collaboration as we work towards a zero carbon future worldwide,” Ms Madew adds.

In addition to the recognition of net zero and carbon positive buildings, the GBCA is also developing a new curriculum to educate professionals on the design and delivery of net zero buildings.

The launch of Advancing Net Zero reconfirms the commitment of the WorldGBC, its 74 GBCs and 27,000 member companies, to reduce CO2 emissions from the buildings sector by 84 gigatonnes by 2050.

The WorldGBC’s long-term targets include:

  • All new buildings and major renovations are net zero in 2030, and no buildings are built below net zero standards beyond 2030
  • 100% of buildings are net zero by 2050
  • 75,000 professionals are trained on net zero building by 2030, and 300,000 professionals by 2050
  • All GBCs which operate certification schemes have net zero rating tools in place by 2030.

Announcing the project at the Business and Climate Summit in London, Terri Wills, Chief Executive Officer of WorldGBC, said: “The success of our ambitions to keep global warming to within 1.5˚C to 2˚C will depend on our ability to advance net zero buildings – those which generate clean energy and produce no net emissions. Net zero buildings will be a defining contribution in our efforts to tackle climate change.”

About Advancing Net Zero

Globally, buildings and construction are responsible for more than 30 per cent of CO2 emissions. Estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggest emissions from the sector will contribute to 6˚C of global warming if we continue with business-as-usual. Widespread net zero buildings are therefore essential if the sector is to reduce 84 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions – the equivalent of not building 22,000 coal fired power plants – by 2050, and keep global warming to within 2 ˚C, and even 1.5 ˚C.

‘Net zero’ refers to buildings which are either ‘net zero energy’ or ‘net zero carbon’. Net zero energy buildings are highly efficient buildings which consume net zero energy (on an annual basis), meaning all the energy needed to power the building is generated through on-site renewable energy. Net zero carbon buildings are buildings which produce net zero carbon emissions (on an annual basis). The definition of zero carbon varies across countries (and schemes), but can include an element of carbon offsetting.

Researchers estimate that there are hundreds of net zero commercial buildings and thousands of net zero homes around the world. As part of the project, WorldGBC will work with GBCs to establish robust definitions of “net zero” for their own markets.

About the World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council is a network of national green building councils in 74 countries, making it the world’s largest international organisation influencing the green building marketplace. The WorldGBC’s mission is to strengthen GBCs in member countries by championing their leadership and connecting them to a network of knowledge, inspiration and practical support. With 100,000 buildings and more than one billion square metres of green building space registered, the influence and impact of this global network is a significant force for social and environmental change. See:

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices through market-based solutions.

Media contact

Karen Jamal
Green Building Council of Australia
Phone: 0412 179 135