Trade bodies to develop net-zero building standard

A group of construction bodies has come together to develop a building standard for net-zero carbon buildings.

At present, UK buildings are directly responsible for about a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions and the new standard, once launched, aims to verify such buildings on their carbon qualities. The aim is to provide a credible pathway to net zero for the UK economy by tackling the emissions associated with the construction and operation of the country’s buildings.

The UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard, which will cover new and existing buildings, will set out performance targets addressing operational energy and embodied carbon emissions to align with the UK’s 2035 and 2050 emissions targets (which are a 78 per cent reduction and net zero, respectively). It will also cover the procurement of renewable energy and the treatment of residual emissions, including carbon offsetting.

Leading industry organisations BBP, BRE, the Carbon Trust, CIBSE, IStructE, LETI, RIBA, RICS and UKGBC have joined forces to champion the initiative.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), said: “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.”

The group states that 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 standard will aim to become a benchmark for any company or client looking to fund, procure, design, specify or occupy a net-zero carbon building and wishes to demonstrate that their building is net zero-aligned with an industry-agreed standard.

The group is now looking to recruit leading firms and other bodies across the construction sector to help deliver elements of the standard.

IStructE chief executive Martin Powell said: “The UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard will enable individual projects, and thus the wider industry, to understand our progress in creating buildings with net-zero emissions. I am pleased that the Institution of Structural Engineers will be supporting the development of this important new standard.”

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