GBA Executive Director Jenna Cramer Receives Award for Advancing High Performance Building Standards, Energy Efficiency and Education
(PITTSBURGH) September 28, 2021 – At its 30th Session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last week, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recognized the Green Building Alliance (GBA) for advancing efforts to establish and facilitate high performance building standards. UN Under-Secretary General and UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova; Scott Foster, Director of Sustainable Energy, UNECE; and Jurgen Keinhorst, Chair, Committee on Sustainable Energy, presented the award to GBA Executive Director Jenna Cramer on Sept. 22.
The award was presented to individuals and organizations that are catalyzing the UN’s High Performance Buildings initiative, drafting the framework and guidelines for energy efficiency standards in buildings, and establishing International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Buildings to educate and lead sustainable building practices in cities around the world. GBA manages the largest 2030 District in North America (the Pittsburgh 2030 District), and in 2019, established Pittsburgh as the 2nd International Centre of Excellence on High Performance Building in the world. Additional recipients included Tomas O’Leary , MosArt Architecture, Wexford, Ireland; Jim Freihaut, Penn State University; Helga Schramm, Danfoss, Denmark; Bob Cavey, Praxis; and Richard Yancey, Building Energy Exchange.
High performance buildings demonstrate higher energy efficiency than what is required by building codes or other regulations. They also optimize productivity, security and functionality, and do so cost-effectively throughout their lifetimes.
According to the UNECE, buildings are central to meeting the global sustainability challenge as they consume over 70% of the electric power generated, 40% of primary energy, and are responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions from the energy services they require. As most of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050, developing countries will need to accommodate 2.4 billion new urban residents by 2050.
“The GBA team has been an extraordinary partner in getting the high-performance buildings initiative moving forward,” says Scott Foster, Director of Sustainable Energy, UNECE. “I find that Pittsburgh specifically has such an important role to play because there are so many cities around the world that face the same kinds of challenges that you all are addressing. Because of this, we are very pleased and proud to be affiliated with GBA and with Pittsburgh, and we look forward to many years of collaboration.”
Jenna Cramer and Chris Cieslak, GBA 2030 District Senior Director, Vice President of Strategy & Impact, also presented to ambassadors and delegates from member states of the UN Committee on Sustainable Energy on the subject of high performance buildings. Panelists included Justin Schwartz, Dean of Engineering at Penn State University, and Vivian Loftness, Paul Mellon Chair in Architecture and Professor, Carnegie Mellon University. The discussion examined the need to include the built environment in efforts that address carbon emissions; the importance of training the next generation of architects, engineers, builders and trades; and the role that International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Building can play in education and leading the industry forward.
Member States also reviewed the Commitment Trifecta: committing to high-performance building standards, methane management, and sustainable resource management; and their progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals which include:
- Aligning building codes and their deployment with high-performance targets; ensuring new buildings are certified compliant; reducing the average energy requirement per square meter in the new building “fleet” and in existing buildings to best practice.
- Reducing CO2 emissions associated with meeting buildings’ energy needs; increasing the amount of carbon “stored” in buildings; improving indoor air quality and reduce pollution-linked health issues.
- Improving the global supply chain for the construction business; reducing embedded carbon in buildings and building products and reduce waste; recovering materials at the end of a building’s life.
About the UN Committee on Sustainable Energy
The Committee on Sustainable Energy is an intergovernmental body that provides member States with a platform for international dialogue and cooperation. It is mandated to carry out a programme of work in the field of sustainable energy with a view to providing access to affordable and clean energy to all, in line with the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative of the Secretary-General, and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of the energy sector.
About the 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’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 (the Pittsburgh 2030 District), and in 2019, established Pittsburgh as the 2nd International Centre of Excellence on High Performance Building in the world. GBA partners across Western Pennsylvania, with strategic alliances including the Green Schools National Network, the United Nations and International Living Future Institute.
About the UN Centres of Excellence
The mission of the UN Centres of Excellence is to advance rapid transition to high performance buildings, locally and around the world, while fostering a thriving building industry that creates healthy, comfortable, and sustainable buildings everywhere and for everyone.
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