Advancing Net Zero

To help achieve the UK’s net zero emissions target, UKGBC is leading the transition to a net zero carbon built environment.

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September 18, 2019

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Policy & Advocacy, Research & Innovation

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The Paris Climate Agreement represented a turning point in efforts to tackle climate change, with a commitment to limit increases in global temperatures well below 2ºC and decarbonise the global economy by the second half of this century. To meet this challenge the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) launched the global Advancing Net Zero campaign which aims to promote and support the acceleration of net zero carbon buildings to 100% by 2050.

UKGBC launched its Advancing Net Zero programme in 2018 to help drive this transition in the UK and deliver the emissions reductions required from the construction and property sectors. This page provides an overview of the projects and resources currently available, with a list of upcoming projects included at bottom of page.

Net zero buildings:

Net zero organisations:

Advancing Net Zero Programming:

Net zero carbon buildings framework

In April 2019, UKGBC published ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition’ which provides the property and construction sector with clarity on the outcomes required for a net zero carbon building. The framework was developed through extensive industry collaboration, including a task group, to build consensus on the final output.

As a freely available resource, the framework is intended to be used by building developers, designers, owners, occupiers and policy makers to inform the development of building tools, policies and practices that increase the uptake of net zero carbon buildings.

Energy performance targets for offices

In January 2020, UKGBC released ‘Net zero carbon: energy performance targets for offices’ for offices that are aiming to achieve net zero carbon in operation. The targets are the first extension to the net zero framework and represent more stretching requirements for commercial offices seeking to claim net zero.

Verifying net zero carbon buildings

UKGBC’s net zero framework provides a route for building developers, owners or occupiers to demonstrate how a building, tenancy or portfolio of buildings has achieved net zero carbon via third-party verification. This page provides further clarity on the verification process, including upcoming plans for improvement.

New building requirements for net zero operational carbon

UKGBC worked with the London Energy Transformation Initiative and the Better Buildings Partnership to develop a one-pager on the key requirements for new buildings seeking to achieve net zero carbon. The requirements supplement the net zero framework, setting out the design considerations for new buildings seeking to achieve net zero carbon for operational energy in-use.

Case studies

UKGBC have complied a catalogue of net zero carbon building case studies, profiling projects that either achieve net zero carbon in construction or operation, or demonstrate approaches which align with the net zero carbon buildings framework. This resource is intended to provide practitioners with practical examples of the approaches needed to encourage and deliver net zero carbon buildings.

The catalogue is a live resource and open to further submissions – please see the submission UKGBC – ANZ Case Study Template. If you have a relevant case study to share, please contact ANZ@UKGBC.org.

WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

UKGBC is providing UK businesses and organisations with additional information and support on how to sign up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. The Commitment challenges signatories to reach net zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030, and to advocate for all buildings to be net zero in operation by 2050. For full details on the Commitment and the global list of signatories, please visit WorldGBC’s page.

Scope 3 reporting in Commercial Real Estate

In July 2019, UKGBC published a ‘Guide to Scope 3 Reporting in Commercial Real Estate’ to support commercial real estate companies with reporting their complete carbon footprint, including value chain (scope 3) emissions. The guide is intended to improve the overall understanding of value chain emissions and provide consistent approaches to reporting activities specific to commercial real estate.

Climate Commitment Platform

In September 2019, to coincide with its support for the Global Climate Strike, UKGBC launched its Climate Commitment Platform to catalyse climate action in the built environment. The Platform profiles the headline commitments and carbon targets of UKGBC members and encourages further ambition with a supporting resource, the Climate Leadership Model.

Course mail

The Advancing Net Zero course mail is a complimentary resource for UKGBC members that helps in understanding the key concepts and opportunities for decarbonisation in the built environment. The course mail is delivered in four easy-to-read emails that can be read at a time and place convenient to you.

2020/21 Programming

Since launching its Advancing Net Zero programme in 2018, UKGBC has generated significant interest and demand from the industry to go even further. Our programming for 2020/21 will focus on the following projects:

  • Net zero carbon buildings cost evaluation study
  • Guidance on preferred renewable energy and offset schemes
  • Energy performance targets for retail
  • COP26 built environment campaign

Please see ANZ Programming – April 2020 to March 2021 for more details.

Further information

If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback on the Advancing Net Zero programme, please email ANZ@UKGBC.org.