A cross-industry steering group, representing stakeholders across the built environment, have joined together to develop a standard for verifying UK buildings as net zero carbon.

The UKGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap demonstrates that buildings are directly responsible for around a quarter of carbon emitted by the UK. There is therefore no credible pathway to net zero for the UK economy without tackling emissions associated with the construction and operation of our buildings.

Whilst 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 our nation’s climate targets. Leading industry organisations Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), BRE, the Carbon Trust, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) have joined forces to champion this initiative.

Kevin Mitchell, CIBSE President and Mott McDonald Global Practice Leader, Building Services Engineering said:

"CIBSE is delighted to be contributing our expertise to support this important initiative on Net Zero. It is urgently needed to deliver a clear standard to demonstrate real outcomes and give trust to clients, owners and occupiers. We look forward to working with the wide range of parties committed to deliver the standard."

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% reduction and net zero respectively). It will also cover the procurement of renewable energy and the treatment of residual emissions, including carbon offsetting.

It will be for anyone who wants to fund, procure, design, specify, or occupy a net zero carbon building and anyone wanting to demonstrate that their building is net zero-aligned with an industry-agreed standard.

The group are 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 who wish to contribute should submit an application by 6th June. The group intends to consult on work at various stages of its development, with work commencing in July.

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