Dow and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) shared the results of their inaugural Carbon Challenge to mark the first anniversary of the project’s announcement. The challenge received a total of 63 entries across 16 cities in Northern Asia covering approximately 7.5 million square meters. Jointly, these 63 buildings saved 38,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) year over year (equivalent to over 600,000 tree seedlings grown for ten years), and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were reduced on average more than 2% year over year, based on the calculations used in Arc.

Dow’s collaboration with USGBC began in January 2018 with the goal to engage building owners and measurably reduce GHG emissions through improved energy efficiency in buildings. The Carbon Challenge was announced in June 2019 to recognize large office buildings and shopping centers in North Asia that reduced their carbon emissions and improved energy efficiency.

“Science and collaboration play a key role in solving some of our world’s largest challenges. We are thrilled to partner with an organization like USGBC that is committed to improving the resilience, sustainability and quality of life in buildings, cities and communities around the globe,” says Dr. Hirokazu Shibata, technology and sustainability leader for Asia Pacific at Dow Olympic & Sports Solutions. “Carbon innovation needs wider adoption of locally-relevant solutions for a successful transition to a more sustainable society. The Carbon Challenge has helped identify and recognize best practices and learnings from top performing buildings that can help inform new construction in the region.”

Awards were presented in October 2019 at Greenbuild China 2019 to seven of the submitted projects across three tiers that were considered top contributors. The joint initiative with USGBC not only encouraged carbon emissions reductions in the built environment sector, but also presented winners with an opportunity to contribute their carbon savings to Dow’s Carbon Partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Every part of the world is experiencing first-hand the consequences of climate change, and it’s on all of us to help accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” says Andy To, managing director at USGBC North Asia. “Buildings are one of the largest energy-consuming sectors in the world and are responsible for approximately one-third of global carbon emissions. We are proud of our ongoing collaboration with Dow and the impressive results of our first Carbon Challenge which reinforce the industry’s commitment to a sustainable built environment.”

The Carbon Challenge evaluated merits during a one-year period based on Scope 1, direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, and Scope 2, indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. The challenge was open to office buildings and shopping centers that were 20,000 square meters or larger situated in Japan, South Korea and Greater China—including mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. All data was calculated using the same calculations as the Arc system and verified by USGBC.

Dow’s Carbon Partnership with the IOC was initiated in September 2017 to balance the operational carbon footprint of the IOC and beyond. The partnership encourages organizations outside the Olympic movement to adopt programs for reducing carbon emissions while catalyzing change across value chains through a series of impactful carbon mitigation projects.