18 Countries Launch Unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change

green1Recently, 18 countries, and over 60 organizations launched an unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to speed up and scale up the sector’s huge potential to reduce its emissions and literally build greater climate resilience into future cities and infrastructure.

Countries involved are as follows: Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.

green2The Alliance, which gathers organizations from countries to cities, NGOs, public and private organizations, networks of professionals, of cities, of companies as well as financing institutions, announced the initiative at the Lima to Paris Action Agenda Focus on Buildings, in Paris.  Among other members, the International Union of Architects (UIA) now represents, through national architecture organizations, close to 1,3 million architects worldwide; the World Green Building Council (WGBC) represents 27,000 companies involved in green buildings business worldwide; the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) represents 180,000 building surveyors globally; the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) represents the construction sector employers through 33 national federations in 29 countries.

The buildings and construction sector is responsible for 30% of global CO2 emissions but it also has the potential to avoid about 3.2GtCO2 by 2050 through mainstreaming today’s available state-of-the-art policies and technologies. Reducing energy demand in the building sector is one of the most cost-effective strategies for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.

green3Real estate represents about 50 percent of global wealth. Creating this transformation requires investing around an additional US$220 billion by 2020 – an almost 50 percent increase on 2014 investment in energy efficient buildings – but less than 4 percent of the current total global annual investment in construction activity ($8.5 trillion/yr). Returns on this investment could be as high as 124% if investments in ambitious policy and technology actions are being made now.

As of today, 91 countries have included elements of commitments, national programs, or projects and plans relating to buildings in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the declarations by countries of what they are prepared to commit to.

green4With support and greater awareness, many more may realize the potential for the building sector to contribute to realizing national targets. Yet, the building sector is very local and needs to align many different actors, which is a primary objective of the new alliance.

As cities keep on growing until more than 70 percent of the global population will call urban areas home, it becomes crucial for the sector to reduce its emissions and literally build in greater resilience against climate change.

Action will include:

  • Minimizing energy demand;
  • greening the construction value chain;
  • integrating renewables through district energy;
  • implementing integrated building design and urban planning;
  • engaging financing institutions.

For more information regarding the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, click here.

History for Sale: Michelangelo’s 16th Century Tuscan Home

MA3Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni’s products range from sculptures to painting, poetry, engineering and architectural design, through the refinement of the High Renaissance and into the artistic age of Mannerism. He is considered by many to be the greatest artist of all time, and a major influence for Western Art.
In 1549 at the age of 72, 30 years after completing the frescos in the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo bought and periodically lived in a villa in Tuscany, halfway between Florence and Siena, that stayed in the Buonarroti family for over 300 years. Located on over six acres above rolling hills, the 12,915 square feet of living space is contained in three multi-story buildings, including an ancient tower believed to date back to the 11th century. The original architecture is accented throughout with large stone fireplaces, and beamed and barrel ceilings.

MA1Consisting of eight bedrooms and seven full baths, all rooms pay homage to the period, with modern conveniences, though all available, blending into the background. The kitchen has all the rustic romance of the early centuries with high-end appliances that do not take away from the original architecture. Grounds are park-like with lawns and mature plantings with a lemon orchard, olive grove and Chianti vineyards, as well as the original olive oil mill.

Born in 1475, it was clear to Michelangelo’s banker father that his son’s only interest was in the arts, so he apprenticed him with painter Domenico Ghirlandaio, where he learned the art of fresco painting. Recognizing his advanced talent, Ghirlandaio suggested he move to the palace of Florentine ruler, Lorenzo the Magnificent, to study sculpture in the Medici family sculpture gardens. During this time Michelangelo became exposed to important poets and scholars who would influence his future. He also obtained permission from the Catholic Church to study cadavers to learn anatomy and create two relief sculptures, Battle of the Centaurs and Madonna Seated on a Step, when he was just age 16.

MA2He would soon go on to the Medici Chapel and the Laurentian Library, and later, was appointed chief architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in 1546. Some of the most notable of his works are the statues of David and Pieta and the ceiling frescos in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, including The Last Judgment.

The Tuscan home has been preserved and restored by its current owner and is now for sale at $8,162,821. The original deed held by Michelangelo, wherein he was described as a “dear sculptor and Florentine citizen,” will be passed on to the new owner.

Listed for: $8,162,821