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Report Highlights North America’s Efforts Towards Green Buildings

UNEP14 June 2012: The US Green Building Council (USGBC), the UN Environment Programme's Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have released a new report titled “Advancing the Transformation to a Green Economy through Green Buildings and Resource Efficient Cities: Key Messages from North America.”  

The report provides a synthesis of stakeholder perspectives from five major North American cities visited on USGBC's Road to Rio+20 event series, highlighting key messages, and action items for consideration at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). It is based on the recognition that cities already emit over 70% of the world's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and consume an estimated 75% of the Earth's natural resources. It notes that it is estimated that the building sector alone is responsible for approximately 40% of global energy use and associated GHG emissions. However, it underlines that studies suggest that energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 30-80% using proven and commercially available technologies.

The report also highlights activities being undertaken in the US and Canada towards building more sustainable cities. It identifies the following three obstacles to green buildings and sustainable cities in North America: lack of awareness about energy use and available options for green buildings, as well as widespread misconceptions about the cost of implementing green innovations; financial barriers, such as upfront costs; and regulatory hurdles. [US Green Building Council Press Release] [Publication: Advancing the Transformation to a Green Economy through Green Buildings and Resource Efficient Cities - Key Messages From Northern America]