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Sustainable construction: Budapest takes initiative

The mayor of Budapest is one of the first leaders to have signed the C40 declaration, which aims to halve emissions from all construction-related activities by 2030.

Other major cities that have embarked on this path, in collaboration with leading innovative companies, are Oslo, San Francisco and Mexico City. Through this declaration, the mayors of major cities intend to move the global construction industry towards a more sustainable future, in order to achieve “a prosperous, resilient and healthy life for all in our cities, especially our most vulnerable communities.

According to the C40 network, which includes the world’s largest agglomerations, the construction industry is, in its current form, responsible for 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but also for 30% of global resource consumption.

This Clean Construction Declaration aims to force major players in the sector to adopt more sustainable practices:
• halving emissions on all new, renovation and infrastructure projects by 2030;
• use of emission-free construction equipment, as from 2025;
• rapid development of the circular economy, at all levels of power but also in collaboration with the industry.

The Hungarian contribution

Gergely Karacsony © Bloomberg

Gergely Karacsony © Bloomberg

Budapest is a beautiful and exciting city with an incredible historical and architectural heritage“, said Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest.

“This, unfortunately, implies a large fleet of buildings with relatively low energy performance and high emissions, which have been aggravated by the rapid increase in traffic over the past two years.

Declaring the climate emergency as one of the top priorities after taking office a year ago, the mayor pledged to take active measures to reduce emissions in the city. Like the other signatories, the City of Budapest has committed to carry out an energy audit of all existing municipal buildings by 2025, in order to conclude new practices to be adopted. From 2023 onwards, it will also start pilot projects that will focus on the lifecycle of materials and their reuse.

Budapest also intends to use its substantial purchasing power with construction professionals to impose new ways of building, demanding transparency and traceability in procurement and tenders. This will go hand in hand with a new legislative apparatus designed to facilitate procedures.

Finally, Budapest intends to quickly assess the impact that new construction rules will have on the overall resilience of the city to climate impact (an increase of urban heat islands, impermeable surfaces increasing the risk of flooding, etc.).

C40 is a global network of major cities that want to implement policy measures and programmes to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gases and climate risks. As Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Mayor and C40 president, said, “the climate crisis is affecting every facet of our lives and every sector of our cities. This means that we need to fundamentally change the way we power our neighbourhoods, consume natural resources, build buildings, commute, travel and administer our cities.”

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