Three Major Earth Day Announcements to Build a Better Future

Earth Day 2021 brought with it a trio of exciting climate announcements for our region, the country, and the international community.

The Pittsburgh region once again took center stage in two of these three announcements.

Green Building Alliance’s (GBA’s) solidified international partnership with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) toward developing a more energy efficient global building supply chain announced earlier in the week and an exciting partnership between actor and Pittsburgh native (and Batman) Michael Keaton and Nexii Building Solutions Inc. (Nexii).

© PHOTO-GRAFITTI Harmony Gerber

The partnership between Keaton and Nexii will redevelop “a brownfield site in Keaton’s hometown into a sustainably built plant that will manufacture and supply Nexii’s sustainable concrete alternative.”

“Growing up, many of my neighbors worked in Pittsburgh’s famous steel plants; the lore was that a businessman would take an extra white shirt to work because the one he started with would get so dirty from the mills’ polluted air that he’d have to put on a fresh one to come home,” said Keaton in Nexii’s press release on the announcement. “Nexii’s new plant will create more than 300 green, healthy job opportunities and help revitalize my hometown in a way that helps folks right now while paving the way for future generations.”

Both projects promise to bring a plethora of new, green jobs to the Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh region that will further exemplify Greater Pittsburgh’s leadership in creating a sustainable economy for the future.

These announcements came with the backdrop of President Biden’s renewed commitment to the U.S. cutting greenhouse emissions in half by 2030. Biden’s pledge, unveiled on Earth Day, lines up almost exactly with the 2030 District Challenge goals.

During a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Biden said, “The countries that take decisive action now (to tackle climate change) will reap the clean energy benefits of the boom that is coming.”

The president’s target of 50-52 percent reduction by the end of the decade would mean a rapid decline in the use of fossil fuels throughout every sector of the American economy. Biden’s commitment was echoed by President Xi of China, who committed to full carbon neutrality by 2060.

Other world leaders made similar pledges, further cementing the need for an international, planetary push toward sustainability.

Such is the goal of the UNECE Centers of Excellence on High Performance Building. The Greater Pittsburgh Center, through the partnership outlined above, will work with the wider community of Centers around the world to expand and share best practices in building sustainability.

“This project will expand the Greater Pittsburgh International Center of Excellence’s reach and help Green Building Alliance and our partners work with the international community to create

integrated systems of sustainability across building, construction, and manufacturing. We are honored to be a part of this historic partnership,” said GBA Executive Director Jenna Cramer.

From Keaton and Nexii’s local commitment to green jobs to the Greater Pittsburgh International Center’s commitment to our climate, health, jobs, and high-performance buildings, all the way up to world leaders, the push for creating a cleaner planet is accelerating.

UNECE Director of Sustainable Energy Scott Foster agreed, saying “Improving the performance of buildings is the one action we can take that can deliver quality of life quickly and at global scale– the benefits of improved performance are very broad and include improved indoor air quality, health of occupants, and affordability.”

These three commitments, announced during the week of the 52nd observation of Earth Day, exemplify an inspiring and strong commitment to our planet’s climate and the future wellbeing of all its inhabitants. At GBA we look forward to turning these pledges into action; and in the spirit of Earth Day, restoring our earth to a place where everyone can thrive.

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