GENEVA - The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has announced that it is forming an alliance of leading global companies to determine how buildings can be designed and constructed so that they use no energy from external power grids, are carbon neutral, and can be built and operated at fair market values.

The industry effort is being led by United Technologies Corp., a leading supplier of heating/cooling and on-site power systems to the commercial building industry, and Lafarge Group, a leader in building materials. The WBCSD and the two lead companies are in discussions with other major global companies that are expected to join the project and will be announced shortly.

The WBCSD effort has ambitious targets: By 2050 new buildings will consume zero net energy from external power supplies and produce zero net carbon dioxide emissions while being economically viable to construct and operate.

Constructing buildings that use no net energy from power grids will require a combination of onsite power generation and ultra-efficient building materials and equipment.

The project will be comprised of three phases, each producing reports that together will form a roadmap aimed at transforming the building industry. The first report will document existing green building successes and setbacks, the second will identify the full range of present and future opportunities, and the third will present a unified industry strategy for realizing those opportunities by 2050, specifically in China, India, Brazil, the United States, and the European Union.

Each report is expected to take one year to complete and involve hearings and conferences with building contractors and suppliers, sustainability experts, government representatives, regulators, utility officials, and others.

Publication date: 04/17/2006