In late August 2023, the International Code Council (ICC) launched a program called Building Capacity for Resilient and Sustainable Buildings that will support the enforcement and implementation of building codes.
Part of Buildings Breakthrough, which was part of the Breakthrough Agenda at COP27, operating under the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, focuses on the goal of achieving near-zero emissions by 2030. According to the ICC, the new program emphasizes the urgency of implementing effective regulatory systems for buildings. Assistance is needed from governments, corporations and organizations to assist in developing, adopting and implementing energy and hazard-resistant codes.
The UN Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) 2022 global status report documented the all-time high energy use and carbon emissions from buildings. Based on the recorded climate performance of buildings, the Global Buildings Climate Tracker suggests that they are not on track to achieving decarbonization by 2050.
In 2021, GlobalABC documented only 40% of countries have building codes for at least part of the building, with a mere 26% of countries having mandatory codes for the entire building. Although buildings are considered a “heavyweight” for climate risk, they were not included in the Breakthrough Agenda until the UN climate change conference (COP26) in late 2021.
Ryan Colker, vice president of innovation for ICC, points out the increased number of hazard events happening in locations that hasn’t been seen previously: “It’s really about being able to highlight the importance of effective operations in addressing climate change—and facilities managers are at the core of that.”
While Colker places the responsibility of maintaining building performance on facilities managers, the ICC, U.S. Green Building Council and American Institute of Architects have been pushing for buildings-based solutions.
Thanks to those efforts, Colker has noticed an “increasing focus on building performance standards, which set ongoing performance requirements for buildings. He believes that aligning operational requirements with building codes—including energy codes—will enable facilities managers to meet their decarbonization goals.
“As you talk about funding and prioritization of climate mitigation or climate adaptation activities on the buildings scale, the increased attention we’re receiving [on that front] should help facilities managers accomplish [their goals],” he said.
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Lori Lovely is an award-winning writer and editor in central Indiana. She writes on technical topics, heavy equipment, automotive, motorsports, energy, water and wastewater, animals, real estate, home improvement, gardening and more. Reach her at: [email protected]