Net Zero Carbon buildings by 2050 – new framework published
13 May 2019 by Ellen Petersen
Following a published consultation in February 2019 (for a definition of “net zero carbon buildings”), the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) on 30th April 2019, published a new framework for the transition of new and existing buildings to become net zero carbon by 2050 (see the link: https://www.ukgbc.org/news/uk-green-building-council-presents-industry-framework-for-net-zero-carbon-buildings/)
The new framework offers guidance for developers, owners and even occupiers targeting net zero carbon buildings. The framework also sets out key principles to follow and outlines how such a claim should be measured and evidenced; and also provides an overarching network of principles and metrics that can be integrated into tools, policies and practices. It aims to build industry consensus on how to decarbonise buildings. It proposes the following two approaches to net zero carbon:
- Net zero carbon – construction. The emissions associated with products and construction should be measured, reduced and offset to achieve net zero carbon.
- Net 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 therefore be offset to achieve net zero carbon.
The UK Green Building Council
The UKGBC will develop tighter targets over time. The framework is however intended to provide a focus and guidance. On that point, the UKGBC says that the next ten years will see the scope and ambition of the framework increased; which will encourage greater action by developer and owner stakeholders. UKGBC says: “In the short-term, additional requirements will be introduced to challenge the industry, including minimum energy efficiency targets; as well as 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. This will cover all of the emissions associated with the construction, operation, maintenance and demolition of a building”.
UKGBC Chief Executive Julie Hirigoyen says that “this is a complex and emerging discipline for built environment professionals, so I encourage everyone associated with the design, construction and operation of buildings to engage with the framework, and to work with us in evolving the details over the years to come”. A call to action for all stakeholders in the construction industry.