ASHRAE, IFMA, USGBC and global building industry organizations commit to decarbonization efforts

Posted by Janet B. Stroud — November 15, 2022 — Global building technology society ASHRAE, along with 24 of the world’s leading building industry organizations including IFMA and USGBC, issued a statement to government representatives attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 27) pledging to assume a leadership role in decarbonization efforts in the built environment. The organizations are signatories of the Building Industry Steps Up to Address Climate Change — a statement to government representatives that are parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), expressing a collective commitment to meeting 1.5°C Paris Agreement targets.

In a video presentation, 2022-23 ASHRAE President Farooq Mehboob, Fellow Life Member ASHRAE, presented a roadmap for addressing climate change, reading directly from the statement. Mehboob stated:

The buildings that we live and work in are responsible for approximately 40% of total global direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. The built environment is therefore one of the leading drivers of climate change. Simultaneously, making changes to how and what we build is one of our most effective tools for mitigating and adapting to climate change and places a great responsibility on the built environment industry. This is a responsibility we earnestly accept.

Signatories demonstrated their support of the statement, including Laurie A. Gilmer, P.E., CFM, FMP, SFP, LEED AP, chair of IFMA’s Global Board of Directors, who remarked:

The weight of addressing and solving the climate crisis is not for one industry, nation, organization or movement to shoulder alone. The challenge is on all of us; but people need to be inspired by real-world examples of successful sustainable outcomes. Those of us in the building industry are in a prime position to provide those examples — showing the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable facility practices and policies. We have an incredible opportunity to change mindsets and lead imperative action by broadly reporting on measured performance results, which is what building professionals do every day.

IFMA pointed out that to do business on the world stage, organizations must allocate resources to improve efforts in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), green jobs are in demand, and facilities management (FM) is growing in recognition as a green building career. FMs are uniquely positioned to lead next-level sustainability strategies; and Sustainability Facility Professionals (SFP) are qualified to set targets that matter, turn commitment into accountability and make a measurable, meaningful difference. IFMA’s SFP credential has been updated to address significant changes in the sustainability arena — such as energy purchasing and consumption, ESG reporting and the circular economy — and to accommodate facility professionals’ limited time in pursuing valuable credentials.

Peter Templeton, president and CEO, USGBC, commented:

Collaboration across the buildings industry is critical to enable and accelerate progress on climate goals. This shared statement communicates to engineers around the globe that their work matters; and our collective commitment to leadership in decarbonizing the built environment engages them in the global effort to address the devasting impacts of climate change. USGBC is pleased to work with ASHRAE and other partner organizations to support the many engineers and building professionals on the front lines, making the case to their clients to push their designs to go further to decarbonize.

Government leaders from around the world are convening for climate negotiations at COP27, November 6-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. ASHRAE leadership will participate in a COP 27 Official Side Event on November 16 titled “Planning, Design and Development in the Global South: The ‘How To’ for People + Planet.” The event organizers are Architecture 2030, ASHRAE and the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES).

To view President Mehboob’s video presentation of the statement, to read the Building Industry Steps Up to Address Climate Change (PDF) statement in its entirety, to see a complete list of signatories, and to virtually participate in the COP 27 Official Side Event, visit ASHRAE’s Building Industry Steps Up to Address Climate Change page.