At the World Green Building Council (WGBC) conference held in Toronto on July 10th, Kevin Hydes, the recently elected Chair of the WGBC, outlined the Council’s mandate for a “building centric strategy for climate change”. Hydes described it as the ‘100-100-100 Solution’, a catch phrase intended to create a simple yet ambitious vision for the greening of the Worlds built environment.
The 100s in Hydes program refer to (1) The ‘retraining and education’ of a 100 million people world wide employed in building industry about green buildings, (2) the establishment of 100 green building councils and (3) the $100 million dollars required for the first and second goals to be implemented by 2010.
Buildings and associated activities currently contribute about 50% of green house gas emissions in Canada, and the volume is growing annually. Buildings contribute more carbon to the atmosphere than any other single source including automobiles. The first step is to halt the growth in emissions and then to bend the emissions curve downward.
According to outgoing Chair of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) Ian Jarvis the building sector can meet half of Canada's Kyoto commitment through a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from buildings. As there are numerous examples of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions from individual buildings applying current technologies, it is considered a realistic goal if it can be applied on a broad scale. (For details about the CaGBC strategy see RENX article LEED Complete: green buildings on fast-forward)
The challenge for the World Green Building Council is to establish programs and policies that are effective in meeting carbon emission reduction targets like the ones adopted by the CaGBC. The 100-100-100 Solutions is Hydes answer to the challenge.
The first ‘100’ in Hydes slogan, retraining and education of 100-million people employed worldwide in the development industry is an extrapolation to the global level of a shift in strategic priorities taking place within national GBC’s, particularly in Canada and the U.S.
According to Sandy Wiggins, Chair of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) , the USGBC has changed “its market transformation model” from one that is based on building programs to a ‘people focused model’. “The USGBC now “measures success by the number of people involved in building green rather than the number of square feet of green building.” Wiggins said that the green building sector is “All about the people."
The USGBC was the first GBC and it is the most successful. It has 10,000 member companies, 70 local councils and 8 regional councils. In 2000 there were only 38 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) registered buildings while today there are over 14,000. There were only 7,000 at the end of 2006. A thousand LEED buildings were registered in May 2007.
Wiggins said “Green building is creating a ladder of awareness. Thousands and thousands of people are getting onto the bottom rung of the ladder. Green buildings have become a pathway for people to discouver a new kind of meaning in the work they do in very mundane industry and to participate in something that is larger than them selves. They move up the ladder through learning about tools like LEED, energy simulations and processes that are different from conventional development practices until they start to undergo a shift in mindset.”
“It is the meaning that green buildings bring to peoples professional lives, and personal lives, that is the most powerful catalytic force that is at work." He added that "The fundamental increment for change is not the building rather it is individual human choice."
Hydes strategic vision for the WGBC calls for the creation of 100 Green Building Councils. There are currently 11 Councils representing the US, Canada (2004), Australia, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the newest member is Brazil.
According to Hydes the “WGBC is not trying to create a council ‘template’ that must be followed as all governments are different.” He said, "The WGBC would rather focus on allowing councils to develop ‘effective’ solutions for their particular country. He raised the example of China whose GBC will likely function quite differently than existing GBCs.
In his conference presentation Hydes did not addressed how the WGBC intends to raise the $100-million he identified as necessary to implement the 100-100-100 Solution.
Following through on its intent to 'focus on the people', at the conclusion of the conference the WGBC announced that the CaGBC will hold its first national conference June 11 and 12, 2008 in Toronto titled Climate Change Solutions for the Mainstream.
The WGBC conference had a simmering sense of urgency about the need to arrive at effective programs to reduce carbon emissions evident by Hydes ambitious goal of 2010 for implementation of the 100-100-100 Solution.
The pressure to act quickly was also underscored by Sandy Wiggin’s description of the uncomfortable position of Green Building Councils as one that is intended to “avoid the unmanageable while managing the unavoidable.”