12. RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

White House defines ‘zero-emission’ buildings, hoping more get built

White House defines ‘zero-emission’ buildings, hoping more get built
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

White House to announce new definition of zero-emission buildings  The Washington Post

White House defines ‘zero-emission’ buildings, hoping more get built

The Biden Administration Sets National Standard for “Zero-Emission” Buildings

Introduction

The Biden administration on Thursday will define what amounts to a “zero-emission” building, establishing a new national standard in an effort to tackle one of the biggest contributors to climate change in the United States.

Background

The definition, while not legally binding, could help real estate developers navigate a patchwork of state and local rules aimed at curbing how buildings from skyscrapers to schools warm the planet. These policies take different approaches to quantifying how burning fossil fuels to heat, cool and light buildings across the country drives climate change.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

From a climate perspective, the stakes are high. Commercial and residential buildings account for nearly a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to calculations by the Environmental Protection Agency that include the emissions from their electricity use.

White House Announcement

“Getting to zero emissions does not need to be a premium product. We know how to do this,” White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi said in an interview. “It just has to get to scale, which I think a common definition will facilitate.”

State and City Initiatives

In the absence of a federal blueprint, a handful of states have set their own rules for sustainable buildings. California’s standards, for instance, required new residential buildings to be “zero net energy” as of 2020, and require the same for commercial buildings by 2030. To meet the state’s definition of zero net energy, a building must offset the power it draws from the electric grid by generating an equal amount of renewable energy on-site.

Cities have also stepped up. New York City, which is home to roughly 1 million buildings, adopted a landmark law in 2019 that requires most buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce their emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Benefits of a Federal Standard

But these different mandates pose a challenge for real estate companies with national portfolios, and some executives welcomed the idea of a single federal standard.

“A workable, usable federal definition of zero-emission buildings can bring some desperately needed uniformity and consistency to a chaotic regulatory landscape,” said Duane Desiderio, senior vice president and counsel at the Real Estate Roundtable, an organization that represents public and privately owned real estate companies and trade associations.

Importance of a National Definition

U.S. Green Building Council President and CEO Peter Templeton, whose nonprofit group developed the LEED certification program, agreed that states and municipalities “would benefit from having an aligned definition at the national level” that could steer investment toward climate-friendly buildings. Policymakers as well as private companies could benchmark their own goals against the federal standard, he added, and it could help guide tax incentives or low-cost financing programs.

Challenges and Limitations

Still, Thursday’s announcement underscores the legal and political constraints the Biden administration faces as it seeks to accelerate America’s clean-energy transition. It lacks the authority to impose binding requirements on privately owned buildings, and with Republicans in control of the House, Congress is unlikely to enact new climate rules for the real estate sector.

Biden Administration’s Efforts

Instead, President Biden has focused on curbing the federal government’s massive carbon footprint, including from its sprawling real estate portfolio. The president signed an executive order in 2021 directing the government to become carbon-neutral by 2050, with federal buildings meeting this target by 2045.

The General Services Administration, which ranks as one of the country’s largest landlords, owns and leases more than 363 million square feet of space in nearly 8,400 buildings nationwide. Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, provides $975 million for the GSA to install clean-energy technologies — including heat pumps, solar panels and batteries — in federal buildings nationwide.

National Resilience Strategy

On Thursday, the administration will tout these efforts at a summit aimed at bolstering the nation’s infrastructure against extreme weather and other hazards by embedding that idea in all federal planning and management decisions.

The new national resilience strategy comes as the nation reels from a string of costly disasters, including devastating wildfires in Maui and Hurricane Idalia in Florida. Scientists say climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of such extreme weather events, fueling a rise in calamities that cost the nation at least $1 billion each. Idalia became the 23rd “billion dollar” weather disaster to strike the United States this year, eclipsing the previous record of 22 set in 2020.

“2023 has set a new record for the most billion-dollar disasters in U.S. history, and that’s beginning to feel like the new normal,” said Satya Rhodes-Conway, the mayor of Madison, Wis., and chair of Climate Mayors, a bipartisan coalition of more than 750 mayors committed to climate action.

“When disaster strikes, it’s local government that has to pick up the pieces. We’re the ones on the front lines,” Rhodes-Conway said on a call with reporters Wednesday previewing the summit. “And the Biden administration gets that.”

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13: Climate Action

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • SDG 7.2: Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
  • SDG 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.
  • SDG 11.6: Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
  • SDG 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Indicator for SDG 7.2: Proportion of total final energy consumption from renewable sources.
  • Indicator for SDG 9.4: Proportion of industries with sustainable practices.
  • Indicator for SDG 11.6: Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g., PM2.5) in cities.
  • Indicator for SDG 13.2: Number of countries that have communicated the establishment or operationalization of an integrated policy/strategy/plan that addresses climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Proportion of total final energy consumption from renewable sources.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes. Proportion of industries with sustainable practices.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management. Annual mean levels of fine particulate matter (e.g., PM2.5) in cities.
SDG 13: Climate Action Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning. Number of countries that have communicated the establishment or operationalization of an integrated policy/strategy/plan that addresses climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: washingtonpost.com

 

Join us, as fellow seekers of change, on a transformative journey at https://sdgtalks.ai/welcome, where you can become a member and actively contribute to shaping a brighter future.

 

About the author

ZJbTFBGJ2T