Cities Recognised as Green Building Leaders

The World Green Building Council’s (WorldGBC’s) Government Leadership Awards, has recognised cities working to transform the built environment and realize the vision of a sustainable future.

Held in partnership with ICLEI and UN-HABITAT, this prestigious international awards program honors local government leadership in green building and highlights policies that maximize the opportunity for buildings to mitigate environmental impact. The biennial awards were first held in 2011, and aim to encourage the uptake of high-quality policies and practices around the world.

Cities from all regions were considered for the awards under the 2013 theme “Global Excellence in Local Green Building Policy.”

GLA Ceremony at COP19 2013

The overall winner of ‘Best Green Building Policy’ was Vancouver, Canada, for its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, an example of excellence in sustainable city policies. The award recognizes the City’s leadership on green buildings, and its ambitious targets for all new buildings constructed from 2020 onward to be carbon neutral and to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in existing buildings by 20 per cent over 2007 levels by 2020.

Also recognized was Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which received the ‘Regional Leadership Award’ for the Estidama Pearl Rating System – a program that has efficiently and effectively implemented sustainability requirements in the Emirate’s development sector.

Christchurch, New Zealand, was presented the ‘Urban Regeneration Award’ for its policies and initiatives aimed at rebuilding sustainably after a series of devastating earthquakes. Also recognized was Seoul, Korea, with a ‘Climate Action Leadership Award’ for its comprehensive campaign to reduce energy consumption.

Honorable Mentions were also awarded to policies from Cape Town, Shanghai, and the United Kingdom’s Brighton and Hove.

“The City of Cape Town Municipal Energy Efficiency Buildings Progamme’s objectives are to reduce energy consumption in our building stock and drive monetary savings. Implementing the first (and to date, the only) guaranteed savings contract within a municipal framework in South Africa required innovation on a number of levels. It has proven to be a highly effective model. The success of this programme has seen budget being provided for further projects and staff, and has provided the foundation for the development of the City of Cape Town’s Internal Energy Management Policy which requires energy efficiency programmes across all departments,” says Councillor Garreth Bloor, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning.

“These awards not only recognize the commendable efforts of local governments to transform their buildings, their communities and their cities,” said Jane Henley, Chief Executive Officer of the World Green Building Council. 

“They also acknowledge our challenge to implement sustainability measures on a city-wide scale in our increasingly urbanized world. The efforts of all of our nominees are proving that building industry solutions not only reduce emissions, but also make economic sense.” 

The winning cities were chosen by an expert panel of judges comprised of representatives from UN-HABITAT, ICLEI and the WorldGBC. The winners were announced at the Warsaw Dialogue on Scaling-Up Local and Subnational Climate Action, held in conjunction with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-19) in Warsaw, Poland. 

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