C40 Voices: Seth Schultz, Director, Climate Positive Development Program

Seth reports from USGBC’s Greenbuild Conference:

I am in Toronto this week for USGBC’s Greenbuild conference, which, for the first time, is being held outside the United States – a sure sign that the green building movement is gaining momentum around the world. Even so, there are still many barriers to adoption in developing countries and, in more established markets, embedding more stringent building requirements into local policy to help reduce the energy they consume and the emissions they create.

C40/CCI’s Climate Positive Development Program (CPDP) is working to define and advance sustainable urban communities by supporting leading large-scale urban development projects around the world, one of which is the Lower Don Lands here in Toronto. One example of how the developer, Waterfront Toronto, is “pushing the envelope” in redeveloping downtown Toronto is the creation of a green building requirement that exceeds the energy efficiency requirements of local building regulations. There is also going to be an off-site education session later this afternoon that will take attendees on a tour through the development to show and explore some of the innovative features and strategies being employed.

I had the good fortune of being on a very interesting panel during Greenbuild’s International Summit titled “Break-Throughs in Climate Action Plans: Adding Real World Dimension to Conventional GHG Reduction Strategies.” During this session, I was able to share some of the work that we are doing at C40 in bringing consistent methodology and reporting to C40 Cities around the world through our collaboration with Carbon Disclosure Project and ICLEI – as well as with Arup, which resulted in a landmark report, Climate Action Plans for Mega Cities. Chris Pyke, Director of Research at USGBC, followed with a discussion on how collecting, analyzing and sharing information on building consumption data can help continue to revolutionize the industry; and this was followed by a presentation from Claire Bonham-Carter, Principal, Director of Sustainable Development at AECOM who gave examples of strategies being developed in California and the U.K. The panel wrapped up with Adam Freed from New York City’s Mayor’s office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, who gave specific examples on how they were going about creating and implementing their action plan, PlaNYC.

I also attended an event where there were representatives from 60 countries around the world. It is exciting to see so many passionate people coming together to share ideas, build networks and collaborate on how to bring sustainable buildings to everyone in the world. I am thrilled to be playing a small part in this effort through our work at C40/CCI!