A new guide to decarbonising public sector buildings and creating a net zero public estate has been launched by the Cabinet Office.

The Net Zero Estate Playbook will ensure consistent approaches, such as using solar panels, LED lighting and greener building materials, are applied across public buildings as they help decarbonise Britain’s largest property portfolio.

The UK was the first major country to legislate for net zero, and as the host of COP26 which concluded earlier this month has been leading the way in securing global action to tackle climate change. The guidance will make national infrastructure greener by giving departments, the public sector, and government property professionals clear guidance on the design, implementation, and monitoring of Net Zero strategies and delivery programmes.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: "The public estate generates 2% of the UK’s total emissions. So decarbonising public buildings is absolutely crucial if we’re going to meet our environmental targets. Property Professionals should use the Playbook to turn best-practice into standard-practice. It will put the public estate in a stronger position to deliver a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035, and fully net zero by 2050."

One example of a current site which follows the principles of the Playbook is the recently opened DWP hub in Tŷ Taf, Wales. The new site is leading the way in sustainability with energy efficient solar-powered technology. The site also has electric vehicle charging points for staff, putting it at the forefront of the UK Government’s commitment to using Ultra Low Emission transport.

The guidance, which will be applied to both existing and new properties, will also help the Department of Health and associated public bodies improve sustainability of their hospitals through the use of low carbon materials and improved understanding of a building’s environmental impact over its entire lifespan.

The Playbook can be used as a guide by anyone responsible for managing government property across the public sector.

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