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11 months ago

Climate Action 2010-2011

Policy and Governance

Policy and Governance Reporting frameworks, calculations, definitions and reporting obligations are different for the above and therefore international agreement is needed. Baseline The reporting of accurate raw data on building stock at the national or city level enables a ‘baseline’ of performance or reference point to be established for each building type, and for the accounting of year-on-year inventory reporting of total emissions. For baselines, governments can estimate the energy use of their building sector supported by information gathered from utilities or municipal accounting. With this, governments can provide valuable information on national and city baselines for their total sum of building stock and also break this down to baselines per building type. Baselines allow governments to understand the performance of this sector on a large scale and set reasonable targets and supporting policies to increase performance. Benchmark To allow for meaningful comparison of the energy and carbon performance of specific buildings, the raw data presented by the baseline needs to be verified by measured data sampling at the building level, to produce a benchmark. A benchmark for a specific building type and climate region enables informed decision-making about a building’s performance, whether by a building owner assessing investment priorities, a tenant assessing or comparing a tenancy, or a hotel guest choosing accommodation. Without a benchmark against which to analyse a building’s performance, the energy consumption and GHG emission data has little meaning or value for the industry and its customers. The benchmark will provide an understanding of the average carbon and energy intensity for different building types in different locations and enable individual building performance to be measured and reported for each marketplace. The benchmark must be localised to ensure climate and fuel supply equity, leaving the building carbon and energy intensity unchanged. Rather than estimating or trying to calculate the differences between urban centres, it simply measures against the average performance of buildings of the same type in the same urban centre. This is simple and equitable, and also keeps intact those elements that are critical for true carbon accounting, leaving the option open that the credits generated could be recognised under the Kyoto protocol and any post-Kyoto agreement. Finally, both baselines and benchmarks are the key challenges for enabling the monetisation of carbon. Targets & trajectories Once there is a benchmark, targets and a medium-tolong term trajectory can be set which reduces over time to lower the average building’s energy consumption and GHG emissions. This trajectory provides certainty for the industry regarding expected market performance and, in order to maintain or improve asset value, this information will drive early action which could halve building emissions in our cities by 2020. The trajectory also enables medium-to-longterm planning by cities and governments. Market performance against this target can also provide the environmental benefit of abatement initiatives and industry action. Case study: UNEP-SBCI Member Lend Lease Group In 2009 the Lend Lease Group engaged a consultant to undertake carbon footprints of all assets within one investment portfolio. The assets were studied as a total and also on a metre-squared basis creating a method of comparing assets of different size. As the table below shows, without a benchmark against which to analyse the assets’ performances, the data has little meaning or value. | 36 | www.climateactionprogramme.org

Policy and Governance By dictating the quantity of abatement to be achieved, but not how it is achieved, an aggressive trajectory will stimulate innovation in the building sector. This trajectory becomes the future building code benchmark. Monetisation Ultimately, a price on carbon in the building sector is what will stimulate substantial energy efficiency improvements quickly and cost-effectively across the industry. By comparing a building’s energy and carbon intensity against the trajectory, we can determine its performance against the benchmark. We can then apportion a reward or penalty accordingly. In other words, provide not just a ‘carrot’ but also a ‘stick’. For industry players committed to doing the right thing, there would be a financial return. But there would also be permits for inaction which would stimulate the whole sector to act to improve the performance of existing buildings: 1) Allocation of financial incentives for betterthan-benchmark performance (grants etc.) By enabling governments to accurately measure a building’s performance in relation to a benchmark and trajectory, policymakers will have a credible basis for the allocation of government grants or fiscal incentives to kick-start the market. Not only will financial incentives stimulate green refurbishment of buildings, but they will also enable trajectory or target-setting by national, state and city governments. 2) Mandatory improvements for existing buildings While financial incentives will stimulate some green refurbishment, an effective incentive to maximise energy efficiency improvements across the non-residential building sector would be the introduction of a mandatory permitting obligation against the trajectories. This is borne out by the experience of the Tokyo Metropolitan government which realised a two per cent reduction in GHG emissions from buildings through a voluntary trading scheme over some five years; in April 2010 it introduced the world’s first cap-and-trade scheme for 1,400 buildings in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, and it is already set for expansion into neighbouring prefectures. The data In establishing a building-by-building carbon accounting system, the Common Carbon Metric project is guided by the imperative that the system is low cost, to ensure that the cost of measurement and monitoring does not exceed the value of carbon abated. The basis of the metrics is simple: • energy consumption (electricity and gas bills, including any on-site energy generation); • building type (office, hotel, retail, school, etc); and • location (climatic zone and/or economic centre). From this data, we can easily calculate energy intensity (kWh/m 2 /annum); and from this carbon intensity (tCO 2 e/m 2 /annum using official GHG emission coefficients for the various fuel sources). Although the current focus is on a sector reporting framework for energy use and GHG emissions, the same framework could be used for other environmental and social indicators such as water, materials, social impact or biodiversity. Common ground in Cancun Despite the sector’s global collaboration and compelling arguments to prioritise the building sector in policies and programmes to reduce GHG emissions, the evidence is that only lip-service is paid to the sector’s importance; in practice, the building sector has been overlooked by governments around the world. The building sector has been overlooked by governments around the world. As the Common Carbon Metric project tests and refines the metric, it’s now time for governments to act. By formally recognising the abatement potential of the building sector as a top priority for achieving GHG emissions targets, the Parties would not only be paving the way for a global transformation of the sector but they would be unlocking a range of social and economic development opportunities. Maria Atkinson is Chair of the UNEP-SBCI. She is the Global Head of sustainability for Lend Lease Corporation and has previously worked for the organisation in environmental management. She was the Project Environment Manager for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Village – a project internationally recognised for setting new benchmarks in environmental best practice for the construction and real estate sector. A recognised industry leader, she co-founded the Green Building Council of Australia where she served as founding CEO and is now a Life Fellow. UNEP-SBCI is a global partnership of key stakeholders in the buildings sector, representing industry, business, governments and local authorities, research institutions and the civil society. Together, UNEP-SBCI Members and Partners work to promote sustainable building policies and practices worldwide, providing advice, tools and strategies to decision-makers. UNEP-SBCI Secretariat Tel: +33 1 44 37 76 36 Email: sbci@unep.org Website: www.unep.org/sbci www.climateactionprogramme.org | 37 |