In 2017 UNECE adopted the Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings which promote the adoption of aggressive, performance-based codes for buildings. To support the deployment of the Framework Guidelines and to advance the performance of buildings broadly, UNECE is launching a global network of International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Buildings that will provide on-the-ground implementation assistance for building owners and developers, contractors, architects, engineers and planning officials.
On 10 July, the Building Energy Exchange (BE-Ex) of New York City signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNECE to become a founding hub of this critical knowledge sharing network to bring high performance building best practices to scale. Additional centers are underway in Vancouver, British Columbia; Wexford, Ireland; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Brussels, Belgium. The network will expand as other communities join.
“This initiative represents the kind of engaged partnership that we need to achieve the 2030 Development Agenda” noted Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE. “We are bringing together practitioners, academics and planners, the private and the public sector. We find representation at the community, city, national and regional level. This initiative involves not only the building industry, but also the energy industry, the information and communications technology industry, and the industry providing building energy services like lighting, heating, cooling, and indoor air quality.”
“Addressing the challenge of climate change and fulfilling our commitments to the Paris Agreement require leadership and collaboration,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City's Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer.” This agreement comes at a critical time, as cities like New York step up to lead and fill the void of federal leadership. New York City is proud to partner with BE-Ex as we all work together to build a more resilient city.”
The goals of the network are directly aligned with the Paris Agreement and will provide access to best practices and fully vetted solutions for communities pursuing those goals, including cities, states and businesses.
The signing ceremony at BE-Ex followed briefings on the Framework Guidelines and Centres of Excellence network made at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
BE-Ex develops education and training for professionals, case studies and retrofit playbooks for decision makers, and interactive exhibits that make new technology tangible. Visitors can learn about which technology might be right for their building, how much money they can save, and how to pay for the project.
Richard Yancey, Executive Director, Building Energy Exchange stated, “If the building and design sectors are going to contribute meaningfully to mitigate climate change and help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we can’t afford to duplicate efforts or deploy anything less than the most effective solutions. The UNECE network will drive us to an inflection point where building owners, designers and engineers are working together to create a sustainable future.”