Vienna International Centre goes climate neutral

Wed, 25/05/16

Shortly after the international community adopted a historic agreement to combat climate change, one of the largest UN compounds demonstrates how to walk the talk and achieves climate neutrality.  

After implementing comprehensive ‘greening’ measures, including in particular building energy efficiency upgrades and switching to 100% renewable electricity, the Vienna International Center (VIC) reduced its carbon emissions by 56% in just three years. This reduction of 5,300 tons CO2e annually is equivalent to taking over 1,100 passenger cars off the streets. Today the Vienna International Center demonstrates a very good energy performance of 177 kWh/m² per year, which is lower than the average energy intensity of non-residential buildings in Austria.

The VIC hosts the headquarters of five UN entities - the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) – as well as offices of 11 other UN organizations. The VIC complex consists of offices, conference rooms, common services, and associated technical facilities, machinery, equipment and other furnishings. It is spread over a ground area of 180,000 m² and has a gross floor area of 380 000 m². The VIC accommodates an average of around 6,500 staff with a daily average occupancy of 8,000 including conference participants, visitors and others. 

While continuing to implement measures to further optimize environmental performance, not all greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided in the short term. The VIC takes responsibility for this remaining burden and purchases Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Adaptation Fund established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adaptation Fund revenues from CER sales support projects that promote climate-resilient economic development and sustainable livelihoods in some of the world’s poorest communities.

By drastically reducing and then offsetting the remaining carbon footprint, the VIC’s operations now result in zero net emissions. This achievement of climate neutrality comes shortly after the international community adopted the historic Paris Agreement, committing all nations to limit their greenhouse gas emissions to a level that keeps average global temperatures ‘well below 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels’.

The Buildings Management Service under UNIDO’s management and funded by all VIC based organisations (VBOs) has been responsible for bringing the VIC to its current climate neutral status by providing the necessary environmental knowledge and technical support to all VBOs over the years.

For further information please contact Mr. Diego Masera, Chief Buildings Management Services, UNIDO.

Categories: Offsets