United Nations Global Centres of Excellence in Building for North America

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Originally published on the ECOreport

The United Nations endorsed Passive House as a global standard at the recent North American Passive House Network conference in Oakland, California. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed described Passive House as a model for the developing world, “where millions await the basics of a quality controlled environment” and the “developed world, which needs to redevelop sustainably.” Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, added that Vancouver and New York will be the United Nations Global Centres of Excellence in Building for North America.

United Nations Global Centres of Excellence in Building for North America

“We’ve been working with the city of Vancouver for some time, in supporting the development of a centre of excellence. It is still very early days and the concept is being developed … but clearly Vancouver has positioned itself as a global leader in terms of building design and construction. It is our hope that having the UN Centre of Excellence located in that city will enhance the city’s capability and leadership in that regard,” said Rob Bernhardt CEO of Passive House Canada.

New York was also an obvious choice. The Passive House standard “has been applied, with some variations, to the vast majority of building types, from civic and institutional centers to high-rise commercial and large multifamily buildings.”

The soon to be constructed 655 unit SustaiNYC will be the largest passive apartment building in the United States.

A Global Initiative

This is part of a global initiative, which will result in similar centers being built in other locations around the world.

“I believe there are six [centers of excellence in building]. They form an effective hub, for information for consumers, education, training, for developers, designers, for builders. It is really an effective component of a plan to  transform the building market,” said Bernhardt.

He added, “The global direction in building is very clear. Build Smart, Canada’s building strategy, the federal-provincial building agreement reached last month, are very aligned with this global direction. Our provincial energy step code is similarly aligned. The Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Plan; the Toronto Zero Emissions Building Framework. All of these regulations and proposed regulations and policies are driving us in the same direction.”

Photo Credits: The Heights Passive House — courtesy City of Vancouver; Address form Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General; SustaiNYC RFP — courtesy NYC Housing Preservation & Development


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Roy L Hales

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

Roy L Hales has 441 posts and counting. See all posts by Roy L Hales