RPS Director Ike van der Putte has been elected to Chairman of the Board for the UN Environmental Programme Sustainable Buildings and Construction Initiative (UNEP SBCI) for the 2008/9 year. The appointment was made at the group’s annual meeting in April 2008, Fort de France, Martinique.
SBCI is a global partnership between UNEP and worldwide leading companies, to promote and support sustainable solutions in the buildings and construction sector. Membership includes companies such as Arcelor, Lafarge, Corus, the US Green Building Council and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC – represented by Ike van der Putte) - one of the founding members of the Initiative, with partner organisations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Marrakech Task Force for Sustainable Buildings led by Finland.
SBCI operates through various working groups and think tanks, with basic research work being performed by institutions such as ADEME, the agency for environmental and energy management in France, VTT, the research institute for buildings and transport in Finland and the Central European University in Hungary.
One of the think tanks is working on Climate change and the Building Sector. An analysis has been made of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the building sector as one of the Flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Agreement. The result of this analysis has been presented during the Bali Conference on Climate Change. Additional work is however required as CDM is not working sufficiently for the building sector. Of a total of 2700 CDM projects, only fourteen refer to the building sector, whereas the building sector is responsible for 30 – 40% of the worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
A second think tank is working on benchmarking systems for sustainable buildings. A package of baseline benchmarks will be elaborated with parameters selected from existing rating systems such as LEED, BREEAM, CASBEE, HQE, GreenSTAR, SBTOOL and FIDIC PSM.
A third think tank is working on policy instruments to reduce GHG in the building sector. Based on an inventory of instruments a web-based tool will be developed to select the most suitable package of instruments under various conditions.
Next to the work of think tanks, chaired by top-experts in the specific fields, work is being carried out in partnership with organisations which specialise in sectors such as local government (ICLEI), education (UNESCO) and energy (International Energy Agency, IEA).
As one of the leading consultancy companies in the environmental and sustainability fields, RPS recognizes the importance of integrating sustainability in its projects, in a rapidly developing market. Being active in SBCI as a world platform for sustainable buildings can be considered as one of the contributions in raising the internal and external awareness of RPS’ positioning.
For those who are interested in activities and downloadable products of UNEP SBCI please see their website.