Thanks to a generous gift from Owen Thanks to a generous gift from Owen Thomas, ULI has launched the Net Zero Imperative – a multi-year initiative to accelerate decarbonization in the built environment. The program will hold technical assistance panels in five global cities this year, designed to help building owners, cities, and other relevant constituents reduce carbon emissions associated with buildings, communities, and cities. The fundamental goal of the effort is to provide concrete ideas and strategies to real estate owners, public sector leaders, and the general public to eliminate carbon emissions from the built environment to reach net zero.
Join the upcoming Net Zero Imperative webinar on Wednesday, November 3rd 5:00 – 6:00pm ET to learn about the program’s cohort of participants across the globe, and their planned technical assistance panels designed to help building owners, cities, and other relevant constituents reduce carbon emissions associated with buildings, communities and cities via a roadmap to zero. Register to attend here.
The 5-year program started in July 2021 and includes the following key components:
- Leveraging a technical assistance event in each city to help the public and private sector develop a “roadmap to decarbonization”
- Running long-term on-the-ground campaigns in 4-6 global cities to accelerate decarbonization of the built environment
- Building a global cohort who can receive ongoing technical assistance to refine their own the ground campaigns, and work together to share best practices and lessons learned
- Creating global resources (research, toolkits, and other tools) to help all ULI members accelerate decarbonization in their real estate operations (and in their cities)
- Develop case studies and tools based on global best practices highlighting cost-effective strategies across geographies, asset classes, and building types
- Accelerate the decarbonization of the built environment in cities
- Chart a cost-effective path to zero for the real estate industry
- Leverage the power of ULI’s global network to drive development and investment that supports this path to decarbonization
- Get the private sector working hand-in-hand with cities on policy and incentives that can help accelerate investment in decarbonization.
Year One Cohort
- ULI Austin (Austin, TX) – Increase the local real estate sector’s awareness and buy-in of electrification, energy efficiency, and on-site renewable energy in commercial and multifamily buildings, in line with net zero initiatives in the City’s Climate Equity Plan. Result in actionable recommendations for potential incentives, education, or code amendments to achieve energy-efficient, net zero carbon buildings.
- ULI Kansas City (Kansas City Region, KS) – Advocate for a net zero economy by (1) identifying best practices for a regional Energy Efficiency Investment Fund to provide lending tools for the real estate sector to invest in energy efficiency improvements, and (2) maximizing community impact through building decarbonization improvements to achieve high-performance affordable housing that address the energy burden in low-to-medium income markets.
- ULI Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA). Identify both technical and market strategies to decarbonize the Bunker Hill neighborhood with a district energy system across assets with multiple private owners. Serve as a scalable and replicable roadmap for cross-sector collaboration to harness the power of energy efficiency and grid integration on a community-level scale.
- ULI Minnesota (Root District, Minneapolis, MN) – Develop a framework for policymaking and development strategies to evaluate climate impacts and drive net zero in the equitable redevelopment of a 115-acre district. Promote district energy, set clear and measurable targets on net zero, and develop a plan that can scale for infrastructure, master planning, and individual developments of similar types.
- ULI San Francisco (San Jose, CA) – Build upon existing ULI efforts to bring the public and private sector together to unlock the benefits of building electrification and the integration of renewable energy generation and storage in both market rate multifamily and affordable housing assets to meet decarbonization goals, increase the financial viability of projects, and improve social equity outcomes.
- ULI Shenzhen (Greater Bay Area, Mainland China) – Explore how Shenzhen can incentivize the private sector to integrate new and innovative technology into both new and existing buildings, to decarbonize while still sustaining profitability. Use as a demonstration city to showcase to the Greater Bay Area how advancing community change can influence positive outcomes toward a lower carbon city.
- ULI Toronto (Brampton and Greater Toronto, ON) – Build upon existing ULI efforts to support the city of Toronto in encouraging retrofits of aging privately owned multifamily rental towers to reduce their carbon emissions and be resilient to climate risks while maintaining affordability. Develop long-term communication campaign to accelerate the decarbonization of the multifamily towers in line with the city’s new net zero existing building strategy.
Each year, ULI District and National Councils will have the opportunity to submit an application to participate in the Net Zero Imperative program. City/Sponsor participants will have a technical panel run in their area, engage in long-term efforts to support implementation of recommendations, and join a cohort of fellow cities/sponsors in the Net Zero Imperative program.
Interested in sharing your expertise as a panelist? ULI will run 2-day technical panels in each of the cities selected annually, and we will need experts across buildings, real estate, sustainability, and policy to inform the recommendations for a roadmap to zero.
ULI Net Zero Imperative District Council Year 2 Opportunity Timeline
May 1, 2022 – Statement of Interest Applications Open
July 4, 2022 – Statement of Interest Applications Close
August 1, 2022 – 4-7 District Councils (DCs) selected and notified (at least 1 international)
September – December, 2022 – Cohort formed and convened, project scopes and study areas finalized, supplemental research
January – June, 2023 – Cohort meets regularly, supplemental research, technical assistance conducted
May – July, 2023 – Project evaluation, completion of Year 2, ongoing local engagement continues, Year 3 grant submissions begin