Buildings LEED the way to climate action

Published 11th October 2018 by William Theisen

Taking action to reduce the environmental footprint of buildings can produce considerable results in the fight against climate change. In the United States, buildings contribute approximately 45%, over 2300 million metric tonnes, of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

One of the main components of New York City’s strategy to align with the Paris Agreement, the global initiative to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, is the “RoadMap to 80×50” that aims for an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. This roadmap outlines actions to reduce consumption and increase efficiency for new and existing buildings. By 2030, the objective is to remove approximately 500,000 pounds of fine particulate matter emissions that originate from buildings every year resulting in significantly improved air quality.

LEED streamlines guidance for green buildings

Given the importance of the building sector in the fight against climate change, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) continues to evolve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework to create “healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.”

The framework provides eligible companies with a globally recognized certification of best practice in sustainable buildings. Levels of certification progress from Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum, and standards include guidance for newly constructed buildings, renovations, neighborhood development, and even individual homes. As of October 2017, there have been over 92,000 LEED commercial and new development projects in 167 countries. In New York City alone there have been over 1,900 LEED certifications though 2017. LEED version 4, which was released late in 2013, continues to streamline guidance to ensure a “flexible, performance-based approach, that calls for measurable results throughout the building’s lifecycle.”

Achieve Gold and Platinum LEED accreditation with Green-e

LEED Version 4 also awards points for buildings using green power or carbon offsets, both of which need to be Green-e certified to comply. This is to encourage emissions reductions through the use of grid-source, renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation projects that have the greatest impact and are verified by a trusted and reliable global standard[1].

Carbon offsets certified by internationally recognized standards, such as the Gold Standard, Verra (formerly VCS), American Carbon Registry (ACR), and the Climate Action Reserve (CAR), can additionally be certified through the Green-e Climate program, which ensures transparency between end-use consumers, retailers, and the carbon offset project.  Organizations offsetting in this way can confidently support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as many projects drive positive social change. These organizations will also know their funds are going to the highest-quality projects and that the credits are being retired on a recognized registry.

“Retail offset buyers look for the Green-e Climate mark to ensure clear, unique, correct, and permanent delivery of high-quality offsets,” said Jeff Swenerton, communications director for Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), which administers the Green-e Climate program. “As a seller of certified offsets, EcoAct meets stringent requirements for customer disclosure and truth in advertising.”

In addition to our expertise in measuring the carbon footprint and developing emission reduction strategies of buildings for companies, EcoAct offers Green-e Climate certified offsets, administered by the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). The projects we support are international as well as US-based. Through this partnership we can ensure that our clients are adhering to best practices from developing a carbon strategy, reducing their environmental footprint, through achieving carbon neutrality.

If you are working on a LEED project or are an organization looking for high-quality offsets, please contact our US headquarters: USAoffice@eco-act.com

 

[1] Green-e is a program of Center for Resource Solutions. Green-e establishes consumer-protection standards for the voluntary renewable energy and carbon offset markets through the Green-e programs. These standards mandate a rigorous accountability for retail products sold to consumers, bringing a level of transparency that can bolster consumer confidence in the industry.

About EcoAct

At EcoAct we are driven by a shared purpose to make a difference. To help businesses to implement positive change in response to climate and carbon challenges, whilst also driving commercial performance.
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