iiSBE news

Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction

At the 2015 COP21 climate change conference in Paris, an announcement was made about the launch of a new international organization, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC), which will be a platform for participating organizations to report on their progress in meeting their commitments for greenhouse gas reductions (called Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) within the building sector. 23 countries and many large NGOs have joined to date.

iiSBE joined this organization and we have been very active in supporting Global ABC activities. Specifically, we take an active part in Working Group 1 (WG1), which focuses on information, education and communications. A website has been launched and as soon as it reaches an interesting point we will let you know. We participated in a large organizational meeting last April, in a smaller strategic meeting last October and in a small meeting of WG1 in January.

This is a very important initiative since it is the only international forum to focus on GHG reductions in the built environment. The first product of the Global ABC was the 2016 Global Status report (attached) which was prepared primarily by the IEA and GBPN (Global Buildings Performance Network).

Stay tuned for more developments. The next major event is a large organizational meeting to be held in Berlin on 20-21 March. For more information or to register to attend, see https://www.energiewende2017.com.


iiSBE launches its international survey on GHG reductions

iiSBE has launched an international survey on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions within the built environment sector. The survey is intended to provide a perspective on the effectiveness of actions that may reduce the emission of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). We hope to make it available to many individuals around the world who are engaged in the production of building materials or equipment, the design of buildings and infrastructure or the operation of completed structures or buildings.

The survey is designed to provide a bottom-up view of GHG reduction actions, to complement top-down policies and action plans developed by governments and large non-government organizations. The survey is currently available in a choice of English or French, and we hope to add Spanish and German versions quite soon. Analysis of date will be led by the University of Malta, but other relevant organizations will also have access to the raw data produced through this project.

The survey is being launched by iiSBE in partnership with the Global ABC, CIB, UNEP-SBCI and FIDIC.

You can find the survey at https://ghgsurvey.study.


SBE Buildings Challenge at WSBE17

Parallel sessions at WSBE17 in Hong Kong will include two 90-minute workshops focused on Building Performance Evaluation (BPE). The sessions are sponsored by iiSBE and will take place on 6 June (Session 42) and Session 84 (7 June).

Building Performance Evaluation compares performance in key aspects (e.g. energy, emissions, water, IEQ, cost) that was predicted at the design stage through simulations and other predictive methods and tools, with the actual performance as assessed during the operation of the building, after at least two years of operation.

Research and professional teams from several countries will present, analyze and discuss their own approaches to BPE in the session, supported by case studies where possible.

Such building performance evaluations are extremely useful to all major actors in the industry who want to have a better understanding of the gap in performance between design and operations.

The Canadian iiSBE team has previously undertaken this type of building performance evaluation, and presented the results of the evaluation of nine Canadian case studies at the 2014 WSB Conference in Barcelona. The results were of considerable interest and utility to the Canadian industry, and we anticipate that many other research-oriented teams may find their results to be of equal value in their own regions.

Those teams wishing to participate may make use of the protocol developed by the Canadian iiSBE team, or can use their own, as long as it provides reliable and objective results. The results should be presentable both in poster and oral presentation formats.

Please consult the attached files for more info.

Nils Larsson

Christiana Figueres named as Keynote Speaker at WSBE17

We are happy to announce that Ms Christiana Figueres will be the Keynote Speaker of World Sustainable Built Environment Conference 2017 Hong Kong (WSBE17 Hong Kong), to be held on 5-7 June 2017.

Ms Figueres is a world authority on global climate change, who has dedicated herself to leading the world onto a path of a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. Named by international media, Ms Figueres is ’the woman who could stop climate change’ and ‘tasked with saving the world from global warming’, we are proud to have her participation at WSBE17 Hong Kong to share her unprecedented insights.

Ms Figueres currently works with global mayors in the largest city-led coalition on climate actions. She was the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC from 2010 to 2016 and she directed the 2015 COP21 climate change negotiations in Paris.


Plan B for Rapid GHG reductions and urban resilience

A new document developed by a group of about a dozen iiSBE members outlines the views of iiSBE (the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment) on the likely impacts of climate change and the range of reactions that may be expected. The document suggests that it may require some extreme climate-related events taking place in major cities of the developed world to cause governments to take resolute action. In such a case, there is a danger that the immediate needs of adaptation, repair and reconstruction may cause vital mitigation activities to be deferred.

The iiSBE position paper provides a series of 21 suggested actions that could be launched immediately, or at least would be ready for implementation when circumstance allow. The proposed actions are all aimed at rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but also include some longer-term mitigation actions. They are all generic, which means that application to any specific location would require adaptation and fine-tuning of the strategy.

This is a working paper and we welcome comments and suggestions.

Nils Larsson

17-18 November; the Sydney SBE16 conference

This event took place during 17-18 November in the Australian National Maritime Museum, an original and successful venue. This was a fairly large conference, with over 140 peer-reviewed papers and 200+ delegates. As with most conferences, there was a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, in this case a mix of 3 and 4 parallel sessions.

The principal organizers were Prof. Deo Prasad (Chair), Dr. Lan Ding and A/Prof. Francesco Fiorito. The event benefitted from financial support by Urban Growth NSW, a government urban development organization and from other support by the CRC organization and UNSW. It was also perhaps not unhelpful for the success of the event that one of its supporters was Professor Lucy Turnbull, wife of the Prime Minister.

Plenary speakers included Prof. Helen Lochhead, Dean of the UNSW faculty of Built Environment, who gave a very informative and useful presentation on the reconstruction efforts launched in New York after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Prof. Deo Prasad gave a speech on lowering the carbon footprint of buildings and cities, Nils Larsson presented an overview of the activities and plans of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) and Man Kit Leung from HKGBC provided an overview of the WSBE17 global conference to be held in Hong Kong in June 2017.

Professor Mat Santamouris of UNSW, who has a staggeringly impressive resumé, outlined the problems of increasing demand for space cooling in many countries. The plenary presentations were concluded by Prof. Peter Newton speaking on low-carbon transitions and Prof. Dennis Else on carbon value engineering.

Presentations of refereed papers in the parallel sessions took place successfully under conditions of limited time allocations and some technical difficulties.

Nils L.

iiSBE holds 2016 AGM in Paris, 22 September

On 22 September, iiSBE held its Annual General Meeting at the office of UNEP in Paris. 12 members participated in the lively all-day meeting. Participants included Board members from Canada, Korea, Malta, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and France.

The Annual Report was tabled and discussions included issues of financing, current projects and future reorganization.

Nils Larsson

5-7 October; SBE16 Tallinn Conference

Tallinn and Helsinki collaborated to hold an SBE16 event during October 5-7. All of the sessions were held in Tallinn, at the Tallinn Spa and Conference Hotel, but a one-day excursion to Helsinki was organized for the third day of the event. The primary technical organizer was RIL, the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers, and EEL, the equivalent Estonian association.

The theme was Build Green and Renovate Deep, very appropriate in this region of relatively mature cities with older urban areas and large stocks of existing buildings. Sub-themes focused on financial and investment issues, green metrics, nearly zero buildings, incentives and models of deep and integrated renovation approaches, and energy issues related to all these aspects.

The event was a good mix of high technical standards and social informality. There were about 160 delegates and 94 peer-reviewed papers, a fairly typical size for a national / regional event.

Nils L.

SBE16 Thessaloniki: Sustainable Synergies from Buildings to the Urban Scale

This event (16-19 October) was a successful reprise of a previous event that took part in the 2007 conference series. Plenary presenters included Thomas Luetzkendorf, on remaining objective in assessing performance, Luis Bragança on affordability and investment issues, Miguel Amado, and Nils Larsson on the nature and activities of the new Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.

There were 21 separate technical sessions organized in the 3 parallel streams, covering a broad range of sustainability issues. The high level of knowledge and experience of Dimitrios Bikas, the main organizer, was evident throughout.


5-6 November; SBE16 Conference in Chongqing

This two-day event was the 16th in the SBE16 series of national / regional conferences, and took place during 5-6 November. The conference theme was Low carbon cities; Low carbon buildings. The Chair was Prof. Andrew Baldwin, while Prof. Qingqin Wang served as Co-Chair, Prof. Runming Yao Scientific Chair with Prof. Meng Liu as Co-Chair.

Keynote speakers came mainly from the UK, with Prof. Chimay Anumba, Robin Nicolson and Prof. Runming Yao, all having strong ties to UK universities and organizations. A particularly memorable point, made by Robin Nicolson, is that the global industry needs to halve energy demand, double efficiency and halve carbon content in the energy supply.
Another keynote speaker, Prof. Qingqin Wang, is Vice President of the China Academy of Building Research (CABR) and is a key actor in the world of Chinese building-sector policy and technical research.

Plenary speakers included Dr. Benny Chow, Dr. Lennon Choy, Prof. Clement Croome, Prof. Scott Fernie, Alan Kell, Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Teresa Parejo-Navajas, Dr. Queena Qian, Prof. Alan Short, Briony Turner, Chris Twinn, Prof. Shengwei Wang, Dr. Irene Wong and Prof. Hiroshi Yoshino.

The conference was structured with mornings devoted to plenary speeches and with two parallel sessions each afternoon. The plenary presentations covered a wide range of technical topics and a few high-level policy issues. Nils Larsson, representing the SBE series partners, presented a brief background about the conference series and an overview of the activities and plans of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC). Dr. Benny Chow from HKGBC provided an overview of the WSBE17 global conference to be held in Hong Kong in June 2017.

There was a high level of interaction between participants in this relatively small conference.

Nils L.