The International Code Council took the opportunity of the United Nations COP26 Global Climate Change Conference in Glasgow to underscore the role building codes need to play in helping governments and local jurisdictions around the world meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to a consensus greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.
The We Mean Business Buildings Pavilion organized by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) and We Mean Business Coalition hosted events related to building safety and the built environment. As a sponsor, the ICC presented in-person and virtual sessions and interacted with global policymakers and global building ecosystem stakeholders.
“With communities searching for solutions to address energy use and reduce emissions, adopting and implementing energy codes are the natural solution,” says ICC Vice President of Global Services Judy Zakreski. “The Code Council is proud to work with other leading voices to spur action through raising awareness and highlighting the role of energy efficient, green and resilient buildings in achieving NDCs. Governments around the world are looking for tools and solutions to curb emissions, and contemporary building codes are a logical starting point.”
ICC is collaborating with the American Institute of Architects, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, GlobalABC and Architecture2030 members or allies to promote the vital role that the adoption and enforcement of modern building codes can play in addressing climate adaptation. “As society races to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions outlined in the Paris Agreement and advance resiliency against the increasing frequency and intensity of natural hazards, modern building codes and standards play a foundational role in realizing these goals,” affirms ICC Vice President, Innovation Ryan Colker. “As the leading developer of building codes and standards worldwide, the International Code Council is working to ensure that communities across the globe have access to the codes and standards, as well as the supporting tools and resources necessary to advance the resiliency, sustainability, and efficiency of their buildings.”
In order for countries to achieve their NDCs, ICC contends, leaders must be prepared to “wake the sleeping giant” that is the building and construction sector, and focus on ensuring their communities have the proper tools, resources and knowledge to create energy efficient buildings and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of building stock. After all, according to GlobalABC, the global buildings sector is responsible for 38 percent of the world’s energy-related emissions. The organization’s 2021 Buildings Global Status Report, released earlier this year, highlights the considerable, but achievable, challenges to reaching a net zero, energy-efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector.
National and sub-national level policies to achieve net-zero emissions and enhance community resilience must include a strong focus on current and future buildings. Building codes and the activities that support their effective use are central to the realization of a climate resilient future. ICC calls on all governments to adopt and enforce building codes aligned with domestic and international goals for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced resilience.