Last week, a Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, designed to boost low-carbon development in the sector, was launched at the UN Climate Summit in Paris. Over 60 organisations and several countries have joined the alliance.
Climate Action reported that the countries include Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the US.
The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has committed to a ‘global market transformation’ to achieve both net zero carbon new building and the energy efficiency retrofit of existing stock by 2050, Climate Action reported.
C taking off
The ‘Moving towards net zero buildings’ commitment, has been signed by 16 European firms including Acciona, British Land, Doosan, Ferrovial, GlaxoSmithKline, Hammerson, Heathrow, Interface, JLL, Kingfisher, Land Securities, Lloyd’s Banking Group, Philips, Skanska, Sky, and Tesco.
Their commitment includes the development of ‘nearly zero energy buildings’ (nZEB) for new build by 2020, and refurbished buildings by 2030.
Climate Action said that: “The plan outlines key actions that the signatories will take, including reducing energy intensity across corporate property estates; collaborating across the supply chain to set specific targets and engaging with policy makers on progress, reporting and progress towards zero energy goals.”
Going green is ‘smart’
A green building should also be a smart one when focusing on becoming more energy efficient.
Neil Cameron, General Manager of Johnson Controls Building Efficiency, a global diversified technology and industrial player, said in an industry insight that by “combining smart grid and smart building technologies improves reliability and security, while reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”
He highlighted that a recent Energy Efficiency Indicator study, showed that 44% of facility executives in the US selected smart building technology as one of the top three technologies expected to have the greatest price-performance improvement over the next 10 years.
“The time to deploy smart building technologies is now. Doing so could avoid $33 billion in energy costs and eliminate 160 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually by the year 2030,” Cameron said.
While the COP21 talks run their course, we’re looking to where the real climate action is. In the Paris beyond the summit, people, collectives and businesses aren’t just talking – they’re taking action for a cleaner, carbonless future.
You don’t need loads of cash to stay in decent, carbon-light digs in the French capital
From lowly budget hostels to dazzling palace hotels, Paris, of course, is bursting at the seams with places to stay. Still, with the rise of AirBnB, hotels of every stripe have had to find new ways to stand out. Though there aren’t too many of them just yet, green hotels in Paris are having a bit of a moment. And a few have taken a completely environment-first approach, offering sustainable options via organic menus, recycling programs and other green-forward features angled at the growing swell of climate-aware consumers looking for a more sustainable stay-over. Here are four of our favourites…
1. Hotel Gavarni
A short walk from the Eiffel Tower, the charming Hotel Gavarni is the first hotel in Paris to receive the European Ecolabel. For tourists, most green efforts – including eco-brand detergents, sustainable electricity and efficient heating – go unseen. More visible are signs in rooms that encourage green practices, such as reusing towels and linens; at the reception desk, taxi schedules are posted to encourage carpooling.
Meanwhile, hotel employees are reimbursed for biking and using public transport to get to work. In fact, this hotel is totally carbon neutral – so just about as green as it possibly gets in Paris.
2. Solar Hotel
Carbon-light travellers will feel at home in one of the Solar Hotel’s 22 simple rooms nestled down by the Catacombs, south of Luxembourg Gardens. From cleaning products and recycled materials to water collection for plants and solar panels, this place has it covered – and as green hotels in Paris go, it’s at the cheaper end of the scale.
In fact, it’s hard to make a move here without bumping into something encouraging responsible travel, be it recycling or opting to get around on one of the hotel’s free bicycles. An organic breakfast, made from local, sustainably produced products, is included in the price. Bargain.
3. Yves Robert Youth Hostel
One of the city’s most sustainable green hostels, this place proves that, even on a budget, travellers can be green. Solar panels covering 3,500 square meters of the roof provide all the energy needed for the 103 rooms. Guests can hang around an organic garden nurtured by collected rainwater and natural compost.
Even better, the hostel is part of a designated ‘eco-quarter’ in the city, conveniently located next to two major train stations and the much-loved Montmartre district. A good nook, then, to meet like-minded ethical travellers.
4. Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s
This luxury hotel just off the Champs Elysées makes sustainability look elegant and refined, right down to their ‘eco-citizen’ champagne offering care of Pommery. It’s not just the bubbly, though: in addition to its energy-saving LED lights, the hotel boasts a hybrid taxi service, as well as organic food, sustainably produced towels and bathrobes and a hugely comprehensive recycling program.
Bills are presented on iPads to cut down on paper waste. But the kicker is they even produce their own organic honey up on the roof. How’s that for environmental dedication?