Live from the green transition:
Decarbonizing buildings and their construction – a COP26 side event

Online: November 10, 2021, 15.00-16.30 CET / ­9.00-10.30 ET
Duration: 1.5 hours

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As world leaders convene for the COP26 in Glasgow, this event zooms in on the unique opportunity that economic recovery and new national infrastructure plans create for fast-tracking the green transition.
Buildings and their construction are tough sectors to decarbonize, but we need them more than ever to get ready for the green transition. The good news is there is a lot we can do for these sectors with energy efficiency technologies available today.

We are bringing key stakeholders from business and government to the table to discuss opportunities and challenges:

  • What concrete measures can we take to make our cities more energy efficient?
  • What would an ideal policy framework look like to accelerate the adoption of truly sustainable technologies in existing and new building stock?
  • How can we make construction sites more sustainable and reduce CO2 emissions?
  • What role can the United Nations and events such as COP26 play in fostering sustainable and more energy-efficient cities?
  • Proved cases showing benefits of greening buildings and construction

In other words: Let’s utilize the potential in infrastructure to kickstart the green transition

Speakers:

  • Ms. Martina Otto, Head of Cities Unit & Head of Secretariat, Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, UN Environment Programme (Confirmed)
  • Ms. Justyna Glusman, Sustainable Development Head Coordinator at Warsaw City hall (Confirmed)
  • Mr. Poul-Erik Olsen, Head of Sales and Market, Barslund (Confirmed)
  • Mr. Eskil Emil Kwedéris, Engineer/Program Manager, City of Copenhagen (Confirmed)
  • Mr. Kjell Strøm, Regional President, North Europe Region, Danfoss (Confirmed)

Moderator:

  • Emilie Reinhold

Ms. Reinhold has a background in political science and has worked with the sustainable agenda from a political perspective - amongst other things through her work with the Danish UN-missions in Geneva and New York. She is an independent moderator through her company Reinhold Debat, where she is working to offer more solution-oriented and inclusive debates.

Program:

  • 15.00: Welcome and introduction of program and speakers
  • 15.10: First round of questions to the panel
  • 15.30: Showcase of energy efficiency cases
  • 15.40: Deep dive on cases with panel and questions from the audience
  • 16.25: Closing remarks

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Who should participate in this event?

Local governments, expert policy makers, consultants/specifiers/architects, OEMs, fleet managers, trade media, trade associations

Background

In November 2021, world leaders convene in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26. Top of the agenda is getting countries to bring concrete action plans for curbing climate change .As was evident by the latest IPCC report, to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive, immediate action is needed and we need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 (IPCC, 2021). For that, there is no way around buildings and construction.

The world is on course to build the equivalent of New York City every month for the next 40 years (UN Environment, 2017). With every new square meter emitting greenhouse gasses during construction and when a building is heated, cooled or filled with white appliances and devices. Today, buildings and their construction account for nearly 40% of the world’s energy-related emissions (IEA, 2021). If we are to turn the tide, every square meter of new floor space needs to be constructed and function using less energy. That means taking action anywhere we can -from digging the hole to finishing the building.

Energy efficiency plays a game-changing role for real climate action. Energy production and consumption account for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions and must be addressed to tackle climate change (IEA, 2021). With energy-efficient solutions alone, we can achieve over 40% of the energy-related emissions reductions needed to reach Paris Agreement ambitions (IEA, 2021). Best of all, energy efficiency solutions are not dreams of the future, they already exist. So let's seize the opportunity to reignite the economy by investing in energy efficiency and the low-carbon sector.

We have a unique opportunity today: governments are both looking to accelerate the green transition but also looking to invest massively in restarting economies after the lockdowns of the global pandemic. The European Recovery Package, the American infrastructure bill, the Korean New Deal, and more upcoming plans from countries such as India bring trillion-dollar investments and a desire to combine green transition and job creation by updating infrastructure. Investing in buildings and their construction can not only help slash global emissions but is also the most cost-effective way to do so – and the most cost-effective way to create jobs. For every $1 million invested in energy efficiency in buildings, 9-30 jobs are created (IEA, 2020). At the same time, cities are showing the way by fast-tracking climate action and creating more sustainable, livable cities, including through commitments on carbon neutrality, zero-emission construction sites and zero-emission buildings.

In sum, buildings and construction are a natural first stop for climate action and a green restart. Now let’s focus on how we make it happen.

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