Experts in building sector set to form alliance on road to COP21

Reading time: 3 minutes
21 May 2015

LONDON: Representatives from the building and construction sector gathered at a side event during Climate Week Paris and laid the ground for a coalition of experts to call for regulations supporting net zero targets.

The side event of the Business & Climate Summit, Low Carbon Built Environments, was organized by The Prince of Wales’s Leaders Group and Track 0 and attracted experts in the construction, technology and financial communities to share insight on the built environment.

One of the main points addressed was the lack of visibility suffered by the construction sector, as topics like energy efficiency and net positive standards are often seen as highly-technical and not understood by the general public.

Frédéric Bonvier, Head of Public Affairs, Philips, stated: “If we want to achieve the net zero target, then we have to underline that it goes beyond the climate issue, is it also about quality of life, well-being for building users and it is about improving your payback when you’re an investor.”

Focusing on the co-benefits of innovation and communicating to both government leaders and users will be the priorities of a proposed “building alliance”, as they want governments on board to promote a new business model.

The main challenge that was identified was in existing buildings, especially the iconic ones.

“Working on iconic buildings can have different meanings”, said Sandrine Dixson, Director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. “There are the historic iconic buildings, which have a lower carbon impact, but because they are landmarks they are useful to communicate to people and make them understand what energy efficiency and net positive targets are.”

But what really matters panelists agree are places where people have to live every day, "iconic local buildings" such schools, hospitals, normal homes. Implementing energy efficiency measures in these buildings to showing the benefits in terms of energy savings and higher quality of life would have a big impact on the global perception of sustainability issues.

Also, building smarter infrastructures means having safer spaces that last longer, so long-term planning is constantly required.

So what are the next steps for the proposed building coalition? “Clear commitments”, “a roadmap for the next actions”, “an agenda with clear steps to take” were the answers, together with a call for more existing alliances to join.

It might be a community which is still in the shadow, but one thing is clear: the building sector has defined a solid basis to achieve concrete steps in the nearest future.


By Denise Puca 

Climate Week Paris, which is convened by The Climate Group, takes place from May 18-24, 2015. See the full calendar of events by visiting

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