PARIS (December 3, 2015) – At the Paris climate conference (COP21), building efficiency took center stage with the launch of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.

Supported by a new $2 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Resources Institute (WRI) will leverage and expand its work with city and subnational governments to advance building efficiency policies and actions. The GEF funding to WRI and its partners will help scale up the Building Efficiency Accelerator, which was launched in 2014. These efforts will be coordinated by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, which aims to create more livable and sustainable cities around the world.

Following is a statement from Andrew Steer, president & CEO, World Resources Institute:

“In the international climate talks, buildings are usually ignored. But the reality is that with the rapidly expanding urban population and global economic growth, cities and buildings are among the greatest opportunities to lower emissions and save money. More than 25 percent of global energy demand, 60 percent of electricity use and 33 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings. At COP21, buildings will finally have their day.

“The new Global Alliance on Buildings and Construction will facilitate the mobilization of ambitious levels of international resources for efficient local operational solutions, align existing initiatives to achieve greater scale, and catalyze greater pace and impact of climate action in the buildings and construction sector.

“We are deeply grateful to the GEF for providing funding that will help jumpstart our ability to expand the Building Efficiency Accelerator, with a goal of reaching 50 cities. These activities will generate a pipeline of projects and policies that will demonstrate how cities can deliver strong local innovation, improve buildings for their residents, scale up energy efficiency in local markets, and slow the growth of urban energy demand.

“Working with partners in the public and private sector, we can advance technologies, drive innovation and increase investment to create more efficient buildings in more cities. For example, Mexico City has benefitted through its participation in the Building Efficiency Accelerator, working with WRI and over 100 local partners in business, government and civil society to update construction codes and retrofit municipal buildings.

“We are looking forward to scaling up our building efficiency activities to tackle climate change and create more livable cities for people.”