NEWS: Net Zero Carbon Buildings Verification – Market Analysis

UKGBC publishes the outcomes from a market analysis exploring the drivers, expectations and characteristics required for a net zero carbon buildings verification scheme.
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October 27, 2021

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The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has today published the outcomes from a market analysis undertaken in collaboration with wider industry bodies to explore potential routes to market for a net zero carbon (NZC) buildings verification scheme.  

NZC Buildings 

To meet the UK’s 2050 net zero targets, the built environment sector requires urgent, widespread and real decarbonisation of existing and new buildings. UKGBC’s seminal Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework Definition built industry consensus on the steps to achieving net zero carbon buildings, providing much-needed clarity.  

Since its release in 2019, we have seen a significant shift in the global and UK context driving up demand for net zero buildings reflected in feedback received from UKGBC members and other industry stakeholders. As this demand increases, so does the importance of ensuring that the NZC claims of such buildings are credible, can be verified and accounted for within GHG reporting. 

NZC Standard 

The output of the market analysis indicates that there is a clear market need for a robust, accessible, and transparent verification process – and for this to be ready for market as soon as possible. The feedback indicated that this is best delivered through the development of a Net Zero Carbon Buildings standard that can be verified against, rather than a new certification rating tool for the industry. 

A standard will provide the industry a central set of agreed criteria against which net zero carbon buildings can be verified. This will ‘cut through the noise’, help achieve the desired market outcomes of mitigating the risks of greenwashing and remove any existing confusion around what it means to be a NZC building.  

The market analysis also outlined what a NZC standard should cover, either within its documentation, or in relation to its operationalisation of the standard. This includes providing a consistent methodology and set of assumptions in measuring impact to ensure comparability in design, as-built and in use performance – for example, what the emission factors hierarchy should be, the minimum level of data and quality of data and the approach when extrapolations, or estimations are necessary. 

Next Steps  

The market analysis was a critical first step to ensure that any NZC buildings standard and associated process delivers an outcome that will genuinely work for the market. UKGBC are currently in discussion with wider industry bodies, including BSI representatives, on how best the findings from this market analysis can be translated into a NZC Buildings standard. 

If you are an industry body, institution or initiative that are interested in engaging with the development of the standard moving forward, please get in touch via anz@ukgbc.org 

If you are an organisation creating your own low or zero carbon certification rating tool, please get in touch using the email above to share and discuss so we can help support greater alignment across industry. 

If you are a private or public sector stakeholder interested in engaging with this work, please stay up to date with progress by joining our mailing list. You can indicate your interest by emailing the address above.