World Environment Day 2020: A Time For Nature and Building Efficiency

World Environment Day 2020: A Time For Nature and Building Efficiency

Jun 5, 2020 | Insights

A Time for Nature and Biodiversity

World Environment Day is a global day of environmental action, with a 2020 focus on a “time for nature” and a theme of “biodiversity.” Such critical messages are underlined by the fact that these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message: to care for ourselves we must care for nature.

Why is caring for nature so important? Because according to the World Environment Day organization, with our increasing demands, humans have pushed nature beyond its limit. In the last 50 years:

  • The human population has doubled
  • The global economy has almost quadrupled
  • Global trade has increased by about ten times
  • It would take 1.6 Earths to meet the demands that humans make of nature each year

Further, the emergence of COVID-19 demonstrates that when we harm biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life. Disturbing the balance of nature creates ideal conditions for pathogens, including coronaviruses, to spread. Thus, if we don’t take care of nature, we’re hurting ourselves.

A Time for Building Efficiency as Well

What is the role of greater building efficiency in supporting nature and biodiversity? It’s a proven fact that buildings are incredibly wasteful and use about 40% of the energy and 70% of the electricity consumed annually in the U.S. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of inefficient buildings can reduce the use of resources and help the environment.

In fact, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) states that “green buildings can not only reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment, by using less water, energy or natural resources, but they can – in many cases – have a positive impact on the environment by generating their own energy or increasing biodiversity.”

Here are the ways green buildings can support the environment according to the WorldGBC:

  • The building sector has the largest potential for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to other major emitting sectors
  • This emissions savings potential is said to be as much as 84 gigatons of CO2 (GtCO2) by 2050, through direct measures in buildings such as energy efficiency, fuel switching and the use of renewable energy
  • The building sector has the potential to make energy savings of 50% or more in 2050, in support of limiting global temperature rises to 2°C (above pre-industrial levels)

 

Nature, Biodiversity and Building Efficiency Working in Harmony

In the post-COVID-19 world, it’s clear more than ever that protecting the environment needs to be front and center. Coming out of the pandemic presents many opportunities to refashion a world where bolstering nature and biodiversity continue to be the focus, with building efficiency providing key backing. Consequently, the buildings industry must play a leading role in rebuilding communities where sustainability and more efficient structures are at the core.

Let’s Work Together

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