May 7, 2019
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched a framework for the UK construction and property industry which it claims will shape the transition new and existing buildings to become net zero carbon by 2050, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement and a new government ambition.
The report follows six months of ‘industry engagement’, involving over 180 experts and stakeholders from across the built environment value chain, and is supported by 13 trade associations and industry bodies including BPF, RICS and RIBA. It provides an overarching framework of consistent principles and metrics that can be integrated into tools, policies and practices, and aims to build consensus in the industry on the approach to decarbonising buildings.
The new framework offers guidance for developers, owners and occupiers targeting net zero carbon buildings, setting out key principles to follow and outlining how such a claim should be measured and evidenced. Two approaches to net zero carbon are proposed by the framework which can be accurately measured today:
- Net zero carbon – construction: the embodied emissions associated with products and construction should be measured, reduced and offset to achieve net zero carbon.
- et zero carbon – operational energy: The energy used by the building in operation should be reduced and where possible any demand met through renewable energy. Any remaining emissions from operational energy use should be offset to achieve net zero carbon.
The UK Green Building Council last week responded to The Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) report ‘Net Zero The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’ which recommends a new emissions target for the UK: net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
The UK must take responsibility as a global leader to achieve net zero emissions by 2050
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC said: “The report marks a watershed moment in our efforts to tackle climate change. The UK must take responsibility as a global leader to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and the building sector has a crucial role to play in this transition. According to WorldGBC, achieving this will require all new buildings to be net zero carbon by 2030 and all existing ones by 2050 – which will require outstanding levels of energy efficiency alongside zero carbon electricity and heat supplies.”
With the report presented as a starting point, the next ten years will see the scope and ambition of the framework increased to encourage greater action, according to UKGBC. In the short-term, additional requirements will be introduced to challenge the industry, including minimum energy efficiency targets and limits on the use of offsets. In the longer term, the two approaches for construction and operational energy will be integrated into a broader approach for net zero whole life carbon, covering all of the emissions associated with the construction, operation, maintenance and demolition of a building.
The work was sponsored by Redevco Foundation, and partners BAM, Berkeley Group, Grosvenor, JLL and Hoare Lea.
The net zero carbon buildings task group was supported by the following trade associations, professional institutions and non-profit organisations:
Better Buildings Partnership (BBP)
British Property Federation (BPF)
Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA)
Chartered Institute for Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
Good Homes Alliance
London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI)
Renewable Energy Association (REA)
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Sustainable Energy Association (SEA)
Solar Trade Association (STA)
The task group included representatives from the following organisations:
Allies and Morrison
BAM Construct UK
Carbon Credentials Energy Services
Currie & Brown
EcoEnergy Insights, UTC
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
Hawkins Brown Architects
HTA Design LLP
Kingspan Insulation Ltd
Max Fordham LLP
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Targeting Zero LLP
The Carbon Trust
Twinn Sustainability Innovation