Our industry is engaged in an important dialogue to improve sustainability through ESG transparency and industry collaboration. This article is a contribution to this larger conversation and does not necessarily reflect GRESB’s position. Please refer to official GRESB documents for assessment related guidance.
Many professionals believe they are too small to make a difference in the world when it comes to the climate crisis and environmental protection. Do you happen to be one of them?
We often deal with managers and decision-makers who only care about the bottom line and achieving short term profits.
In many cases, our families and communities are not fully aware of the consequences of climate change and their own role in the planet battle.
In this blog, I would like to share six ways to help professionals in the built environment industry become net-zero champions in their sector and community:
- Elevate your knowledge
- Educating yourself about climate change is key to becoming a Zero Carbon Champion.
- If you have the time to enroll in a university program on sustainability and related topics, it would be great! If not, consider attending courses or training programs that can elevate your knowledge on the topic.
- Many online educational courses are free of charge. I recommend the courses provided by the SDG Academy, which are delivered by speakers from the United Nations, the World Bank, and various global universities. Check their full list of courses here.
- As part of EmiratesGBC’s Net Zero Centre of Excellence, we also host events and webinars addressing the role of companies in decarbonizing the built environment. To learn more about the best practices and net-zero programs of leading companies in the middle east, watch the recording of a webinar we hosted in April 2020.
- Join your local Green Building Council and benefit from its green building /sustainability educational programs.
- Create an impact within your organization
- Engage with higher management about the role of your organization in climate action.
- Convince your company to join the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which calls for urgent action for businesses, organizations, cities, states, and regions towards decarbonizing the built environment.
- Encourage your management to develop science-based targets to support the transition towards a low carbon economy. Here are the business benefits of developing such targets.
- Engage with your clients to consider designing and constructing zero energy or zero-carbon buildings. A great way to celebrate your net-zero achievements is by certifying your project with our ILFI’s Zero Energy and Zero Carbon certifications.
- Join local and global net zero programs
- Join Emirates GBC’s Net Zero Centre of Excellence events to meet with local and global leaders in the net-zero realm. The Centre provides a platform for different stakeholders including government, private sector, and academia to learn and share knowledge on net-zero buildings.
- Engage with your country’s Green Building Council to join WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero Project; the project creates and develops tools and programs to promote the decarbonization of the built environment.
- Improve your house and office energy performance
- Start with calculating your energy and water performance. Then, benchmark it with the performance of typical buildings of the same type. If your consumption is high, consider implementing energy conservation and efficiency measures to reduce it.
- Check the Emirates GBC’s Green Building Tooltips which is a rich online resource that provides useful information on green building practices within offices and homes. The tooltips offer sustainability measures, methods, technologies, and behavioral changes that can be exercised by owners and occupants to improve their buildings.
- Share your passion with your community and friends
Have you considered inspiring your community by talking about your climate action passion? Share with your friends some tips around that by using storytelling and social media posts. Here are some striking facts you may use for a start.
- “More than 1 million species are at risk of extinction by climate change” (Reference)
- “The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years” (Reference)
- “The Arab region is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the consequences of climate change…” (Reference)
- “UAE could be warmer in the future, with an expected temperature increase of 2–3°C, alongside increasing humidity.” (Reference)
- Practice what you preach
To be influential, you have to model the desired behavior you want to see! To set out a great example for others to follow, start by considering public transportation, using electric vehicles, reducing waste generation, recycling, eating healthy low-carbon meals, and wearing eco-friendly clothes.
Here are some lifestyle tips that you can start using today.
This article is written by Majd Fayyad. Majd leads the technical programmes of Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) which include the Net Zero Centre of Excellence, Benchmarking Programme, Green Key and Energy Efficiency Programme. His main role at EmiratesGBC is to create new strategies and programmes, while managing existing initiatives, as a means to drive the council’s mission of promoting sustainability of the built environment in the UAE.