Paris UN climate summit to have first-ever “Buildings Day”

For the first time, a dedicated "Buildings Day" will feature at the United Nations’ climate change summit scheduled for Paris this December.

The day will probe the large role the built environment has in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change, and will be used to promote zero-carbon buildings and "deep retrofits", reports UK magazine, Building.

The summit, called COP21, will be attended by all countries of the world and aims to arrive at a legally binding global climate agreement.

Experts acknowledge that buildings have a large and multi-faceted impact on carbon emissions, ranging from the carbon released in their construction to the energy used during their operational lifetimes.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change, for one, estimates that buildings account for 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

The idea to hold a Buildings Day at COP21 was put forward by the government of host-country France in May.

The decision to include it on the official agenda follows lobbying by built environment bodies, including the UK’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, reports Building.

World Green Building Council chief executive Terri Wills told Building that the day, to be held on 3 December, will aim to get countries to increase the number of zero-carbon buildings developed and the rate of "deep retrofit" in existing buildings.

Wills said France, which will host the event, "really saw that the built environment sector was committed to action on climate change".

Photograph: Air conditioning units on a building in Nis, Serbia. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change estimates that buildings account for 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions (Tiia Monto/Wikimedia Commons)

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