RELEASE: Green Building Alliance and United Nations’ Partners Receive International Climate Initiative Award

GBA to play key role in US commitment to climate and infrastructure, transforming the building industry

April 21, 2021, Pittsburgh, PA: Green Building Alliance (GBA) announces an international collaboration led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to develop a $24M project to improve the energy efficiency of the global building supply chain and its products to deliver high performance buildings. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety awarded this project signaling the advancement of a planning phase and full proposal. The launch of the project was announced today by Ms. Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker at the UNECE’s 69th Commission meeting.

This award solidifies the Greater Pittsburgh region as a global leader in the expeditious innovation of technologies, products, and training aimed at curbing carbon emissions and creating healthy, sustainable buildings. The project presents an opportunity to work with international leaders in the field to identify solutions and strategies, and then implement best practices for the Pittsburgh region. The IKI award, in conjunction with Pittsburgh’s designation as a UN International Center of Excellence on High Performance Building, confirms GBA as a leader in providing solutions to improve the built environment thereby positively impacting climate change, human health, social equity, and a thriving economy.

“Funding high-performance buildings and retrofitting existing buildings can rapidly reinvigorate local economies, supporting or creating quality jobs through the entire building supply chain while delivering on long-term quality of life for everyone,” states Scott Foster, Director of Sustainable Energy at UNECE, about this innovative work. “Given its size and its history both as a coal-mining and steel-making center and as an example of urban rebirth, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer the cities of the world in terms of its experience and know-how.”

Green Building Alliance is eager to begin this important work. “It is an honor to play such an important role in the US commitment to climate and infrastructure and the need to rapidly transform the building industry,” states Jenna Cramer, GBA’s Executive Director. “We have an opportunity to build upon our 28-year history of making Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania region a leadership hub for green buildings and sustainable products. This project is part of our efforts with the Greater Pittsburgh International Center of Excellence, a public private partnership that uniquely positions organizations, researchers, companies, and governments to collectively problem-solve for our region’s future while also connecting on a global platform to share best practices and advance solutions.”

The building and construction sector plays a key role in addressing global issues including significant emissions reductions, improved energy security, and increased circular economy. The sector is integral to achieving the Paris Agreement goals as it is responsible for approximately 40 percent of energy- and process-related emissions. The project kick-off will take place in May 2021. Led by UNECE, other partners include UN Environment, UN Development Programme (UNDP) offices in select countries, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), Passivhaus Institute (Germany), and the Technical University of Denmark. GBA is the only partner in the United States.

The Greater Pittsburgh Center of Excellence current partners include Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PJ Dick, Fourth Economy, Duquesne Light, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Covestro, Partner4Work, Innovation Works, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, other nonprofits, and professionals.

About Green Building Alliance
Green Building Alliance (GBA) advances innovation in the built environment by empowering people to create environmentally, economically, and socially vibrant places. As Greater Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania’s authority on sustainable design, GBA drives the market for healthy communities while equipping designers, manufacturers, developers, and policymakers to catalyze systemic change. GBA manages the largest 2030 District in North America, and in 2019, established Greater Pittsburgh as the 2nd International Center of Excellence on High Performance Building in the world. GBA partners across Western Pennsylvania with strategic alliances including the 2030 District Network, the United Nations, and International Living Future Institute.

 About UNECE
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). UNECE is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations, with 56 Member States in Europe, North America, and Asia, and its primary aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. All United Nations Member States may participate in the work of UNECE. UNECE works in cooperation with other global players and key stakeholders, notably the business community in developing norms, standards, and conventions to facilitate international cooperation within and outside the region.

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