July 15, 2024

Architectural Concepts Guide

Elevating Home Design Standards

Industry-wide agreement to increase consideration of lower carbon building materials

3 min read

The Climate Smart Buildings Alliance, a joint project between EllisDon, RBC, and Mattamy Homes has announced the Responsible Buildings Pact, a new cross-industry agreement aimed at increasing the use of low carbon materials in the built environment. The Pact was formally launched at the Canada Green Building Council’s Building Lasting Change conference in Toronto, with the first 23 signatories committing to support the first year of the collective industry effort.

“Builders should always use the right materials for the job, but, as an industry, we need to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials we use,” says David Messer, director of Climate Smart Buildings Alliance. “Recognizing the business realities everyone faces, the Pact is designed to make sure companies are asking the right questions, derisking climate-positive choices, and creating a sense of shared accountability.”

The Responsible Buildings Pact is an open, voluntary, industry-wide agreement for any developers, consultants, contractors, and supporters interested in working together to reduce the embodied carbon of the buildings they create. By joining the Pact, companies will commit to three core elements:

  • Remaining educated on lower carbon materials.
  • Establishing an internal process to consistently evaluate whether lower carbon materials or design strategies can be used.
  • Reporting publicly on the results of their evaluation process and evaluations publicly and identifying the ability to use lower carbon materials.

“Buildings are responsible for approximately 1/3 of all carbon emissions. The technology exists now to potentially reduce the embodied portion of those emissions by approximately 40%,” says Jody Becker, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Infrastructure Services & Technology at EllisDon. “We must create a sustainability culture across our industry in a similar way as our approach to safety – where doing the right thing isn’t competitive; it’s a collaborative mandate.”

“Most builders have their own sustainability targets, but for any of us to succeed, we need everyone to be moving in the same direction,” says Brad Carr, CEO of Mattamy Homes Canada. “We can only get more low carbon materials and technologies in the market if others in the industry are also sending the same signal to suppliers. The Pact will help us coordinate and collaborate towards shared climate objectives.”

“Around the world, industry competitors are coming together to advance low carbon solutions. It’s a critical part of bringing new technologies to market, and ultimately solving the climate crisis,” John Stackhouse, SVP Office of the CEO at RBC. “This is why RBC is proud to be a founding member of CSBA, and why we’re also proud to support the Responsible Buildings Pact.”

The first year of the Pact (June 2024–May 2025) will be a pilot year, with signatories only focusing on concrete. In 2025, a more formal agreement will be put in place to expand the Pact’s requirements for other materials over time, including steel, cladding, insulation, and finishes. The Pact’s first public impact report is being scheduled for April 2025.

With the formal launch with 23 signatories on June 5th, CSBA is now launching outreach to bring more developers, contractors, and consultants into the Pact to broaden the impact of the initiative.

For further information on the Responsible Buildings Pact, visit: www.buildingsalliance.ca/pact.

Featured image credits: Getty Images

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