Leading organisations across the built environment are backing an initiative to develop a standard for verifying UK buildings as net zero carbon.
A cross-industry steering group, representing stakeholders across the built environment, have teamed to develop a standard for verifying UK buildings as net zero carbon.
The standard will cover both new and existing buildings and will set out performance targets addressing operational energy and embodied carbon emissions to align with the UK’s 2035 and 2050 emissions targets (78 per cent reduction and net zero respectively).
Tackling carbon emissions
The UK Green Building Council’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap demonstrates that buildings are directly responsible for around one quarter of carbon emitted by the UK. The steering group reckons there is therefore no credible pathway to net zero for the UK economy without tackling emissions associated with the construction and operation of buildings.
While significant progress has been made in defining what net-zero means for buildings in the UK, a process of market analysis showed a clear demand for a single, agreed methodology. The UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard will enable industry to robustly prove their built assets are net zero carbon and in line with the nation’s climate targets.
“Working together we will address current ambiguities around the much-used term and develop a common understanding, based on clear performance targets”
Industry organisations which have joined forces to champion the initiative are: Building Better Partnerships (BBP), Bre, which developed the sustainability assessment method Breeam, the Carbon Trust, Chartered Institution of Building Engineers (CIBSE), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Leti, the network for built environment professionals, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)
“The Standard will leverage the invaluable data behind UKGBC’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment to establish performance targets which are aligned with science-based trajectories as a vital step towards our industry’s transition to net zero,” said Julie Hirigoyen, CEO of UKGBC.
She added: “UKGBC looks forward to working with industry on the development of this Standard to underpin the credibility of all future net zero carbon building claims.”
It will be for anyone who wants to fund, procure, design, specify, or occupy a net zero carbon building and anyone wishing to demonstrate their building is net zero-aligned with an industry-agreed standard.
The group is seeking support from stakeholders across the industry to deliver elements of the standard. More details on the task groups and other ways to get involved can be found in the launch document, and individuals or organisations wishing to contribute should submit an application by 6 June. The group intends to consult on work at various stages of its development, with work commencing in July.
Clara Bagenal George of LETI said: “Not only will this project deliver much needed clarity on how to verify net zero carbon buildings in the UK, but it also brings together key organisations that have been working in this space, to create a robust, industry-led UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard, created through consensus and collaboration based on science.”
RIBA president Simon Allford said the standard will help the entire industry to move forward in its efforts to reach net zero carbon. “Working together we will address current ambiguities around the much-used term and develop a common understanding, based on clear performance targets, to support all those involved in the procurement, design, construction and operation of buildings.”