I had the honor of attending and participating in one of the most exciting events around climate action in the country. Climate Week in New York, organized by The Climate Group in conjunction with the United Nations and the City of New York, took place in September. Throughout the week, there were hundreds of events, symposiums and conversations around climate action and ways to bring about change.
Do No Harm: Achieving Net Zero Buildings
The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) invited me to participate in an event on the role of urban, high-density, net-zero-energy projects in meeting the demands of the climate crisis. Sharing the stage with me was Amanda Sturgeon, ILFI CEO, and Stas Zakrzewski of ZH Architects.
At Kingspan, we are very mindful of the footprint we leave behind, which is why we place a priority on creating sustainable products. During this event, we focused on the future of construction and the opportunity within the industry to reduce embodied and operational carbon.
We like to challenge ourselves to change. Here are a few questions I challenged our attendees to think about:
- What if we could increase our direct use of renewable energy to 60%?
- What if 20% of our energy was generated completely on-site?
- What if every site had solar PV or wind power?
- What if we could become a Net Zero Carbon manufacturer?
One significant takeaway from Climate Week is that corporations have received pressure to take ambitious action on climate change and many are now beginning to meet the challenge. For example, One Planet Business for Biodiversity
(OP2B), a unique international cross-sectorial, action-oriented business coalition on biodiversity comprised of 19 companies, launched this week and is “determined to drive transformational systemic change”.
Additionally, Climate Week really brought to light what youth are doing to protect the future of the planet. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s memorable message to world leaders at the UN Climate Summit was seen and heard by people around the world. On the last day of Climate Week, millions of young people took to the streets across the country in a global climate strike.
Climate Week was not just a summit to talk – there has been plenty of talk about the condition our planet is in. This was a time for action. I’m hopeful about the action we’re taking for our future and to make this world a better place.