Building resilience and COP26
September 20-24 marks World Green Building Week 2021, an event with greater significance than ever given the UK's hosting of the critical COP26 Climate Summit later in the year.
World Green Building Week aims to shine a light on how a holistic approach can build resilience and accelerate sustainable development goals for everyone, everywhere. Organised by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), the network is accelerating those goals towards a resilient and sustainable net zero built environment.
Why building resilience is important
The built environment is responsible for 50% of all extracted materials and 38% of global carbon emissions. With the world's building stock predicted to double by 2050, increasing that impact significantly including the demand on natural resources which accelerates climate change.
The WorldGBC is promoting a holistic approach to sustainability to create powerful solutions in the industry through its Building Resilience agenda. The aim is to drive systemic changes in the way the construction industry approaches climate change, communities and economies to deliver sustainable buildings that really do build back better.
Building resilience to climate change
According to the WorldGBC, building resilience to climate change is about more than using sources of clean and affordable energy. It also needs to mitigate the impacts on vulnerable regions and communities to create a regenerative, circular economy.
Future proofed communities offer healthy environments with access to vital infrastructure including schools, hospitals and green spaces. In turn this helps to provide green jobs in the economy, regenerates resources and provides socio-economic benefits throughout the economy. But it's a process that can only be driven by total decarbonisation of the built environment.
One man who understands the need for taking responsibility for the environment is Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity and Forest Green Rovers whose new stadium will be the most sustainable in the world. So how does a new football stadium drive eco-responsibility and fulfill the WorldGBC's Building Resilience agenda?
Vince says the club's ethos has seen fans turn veggie and vegan, snapping up electric cars and solar panels as a way of embracing the club's mission to combat climate change. The club itself is powered by 100% green energy from using solar powered lawn mowers to cut the grass to using rainwater irrigation techniques. The team even plays in a strip made from bamboo fibres.
But the centrepiece will be the new EcoPark stadium, a sustainable building that will sit at the heart of a site encompassing a green business park providing 4,000 green tech jobs while providing a 20% boost to the biodiversity of local farmland. In Vince's words, this will be a sustainable development that builds places for people to work, live and play but leaves room for nature. Plans for the EcoPark include the creation of new wetlands and planting thousands of trees and hedgerows to create a diverse and beautiful environment.
Vince says the most effective way to create change is to show people what you do, and he's been granted the title UN Climate Champion. The WorldGBC has been working closely with the UN and its Global Goals for Sustainable Development to create a health and wellbeing framework that industry leaders can sign up to.
The framework principles include protecting and improving health by improving air and water quality, designing for harmony between the built and natural environment and taking climate change action to decarbonise construction.
To find out more about World Green Building Week and the UN's Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns visit worldgbc.org/WGBW2021.