Energy Efficiency

11 Jun 2021

Green Buildings to Help Poland Reach Climate Goals

11 Jun 2021  by New Europe Online   

Poland needs to decarbonise the country’s construction sector as buildings play a crucial role in Poland’s effort to meet the 2050 net-zero emissions goal, a new study shows.

The Palace of Culture and Science illuminated in green color on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the World Earth Day, Warsaw, Poland, April 22, 2020.

The Polish Green Building Council (PLGBC) in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) published on June 9 a report on the buildings sector, including construction, is responsible for about 38% of the country’s carbon emissions. Whole-life carbon emissions are those that result from the construction and use of a building over its entire life, including demolition and disposal, the EBRD said in a press release.

The report provides a “roadmap” to illustrate and navigate the complex challenge that Poland faces to decarbonise the construction sector by 2050. The decarbonisation of buildings requires continuous engagement and the cooperation of many parties and this cooperation is a key task for all stakeholders, the report reads.

Poland is a signatory to the Paris Agreement, which requires that global net greenhouse gas emissions reach zero by 2050. The European Union aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030. These targets will be achieved by decarbonising all sectors of the economy.

EBRD Environmental and Sustainability Managing Director Alistair Clark said the bank aims to become a majority green bank by 2025. “Our objective is also to support the countries where we invest in their transitions to low-carbon and Paris Agreement-aligned economies. The building sector has a significant environmental and social impact, but we look at the decarbonisation of the building sector as an opportunity for more and greener investments. The ERBD will support market transition in partnership with counterparts who keep the environment and sustainability high on their agendas,” Clark said.

The report also proposes concrete actions for nine stakeholder groups: government and local authorities; developers, investors and building owners; designers (architects and civil engineers); manufacturers of building materials and technologies; contractors; building managers; financial institutions and NGOs; professional associations; and academia. Work on the report was preceded by consultations with 40 industry organisations and institutions in Poland.

PLGBC CEO Alicja Kuczera said the path towards the decarbonisation of Poland’s building stock and construction sector presented in the report is undoubtedly very ambitious. “However, without bold vision it is impossible to achieve climate neutrality. But ambitious visions must be translated into ambitious strategies, as only decisive, intensified and long-term action will allow us to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal,” she said.

In the EBRD regions, buildings are responsible for more than 43% of greenhouse gas emissions. The global building stock is likely to double by 2050 and given that buildings are expected to deliver more and more in terms of comfort, convenience and entertainment, emissions will increase considerably if little or nothing is done to reduce their carbon intensity. Decarbonising buildings is one of the most cost-effective ways to mitigate the worst effects of the impending climate breakdown.

World Green Building Council CEO Cristina Gamboa noted that this ambitious policy roadmap shows that with a whole-life carbon approach, the Polish building and construction sector can play a crucial role in attaining climate neutrality. “It is inspiring to see our member Green Building Councils across our Europe Regional Network spearheading climate leadership towards a fully decarbonised built environment,” she said, adding that they will release nine more national roadmaps as part of their Building Life initiative in the coming months.

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