Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment

UKGBC have launched the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, a common vision and agreed actions for achieving net zero carbon in the construction, operation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure.

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November 10, 2021

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Policy & Advocacy, Research & Innovation

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Throughout 2021, UKGBC has been working with a cross-industry team to develop a Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap (the Roadmap) for the UK built environment. The Roadmap project aims to outline a common vision and agree upon industry-wide actions for achieving net zero carbon in the construction, operation, and demolition of buildings and infrastructure in the UK.

Outputs

The main Roadmap elements include a carbon footprint for the UK built environment, a Net Zero Carbon trajectory to 2050, and policy recommendations with industry action plans to deliver the 2050 scenario. These outputs are published in an initial series of four reports:

  • A Pathway to Net Zero for the UK Built Environment aimed at stakeholders from across the built environment value chain who need an overview of the Roadmap findings and its implications for the sector. The report provides context for why the Roadmap exercise is critical to delivering the UK net zero goal, while also detailing the necessary technological shifts, policies and industry actions that can help deliver decarbonisation.
  • Technical Report provides detail on the project structure, the process for data collection, the key features of the calculation methodology and concludes with a description of the net zero scenario definition and results.
  • Summary for Policy-Makers aimed at central government, local authorities, and anyone interested in built environment policies. The Summary provides an overview of the relevant Roadmap findings and policy recommendations for central government to deliver a net zero built environment by 2050.
  • Stakeholder Action Plans sets out specific recommended actions for 14 key industry stakeholders, enabling them to play their part in achieving the Roadmap’s goals.

Interactive Graph

 Historic (1990-2018) built environment emissions (MtCO2e) , alongside projected emissions from the built environment (2018 through to 2050)

Industry Support for the Roadmap

"This roadmap for decarbonising the UK built environment is what our industry needs – now. Arup supports UKGBC in its call for a carbon ceiling and for emissions reduction across buildings and infrastructure. Measuring the embodied and in-use carbon of built environment projects will be essential, as will transparency about performance. We must be ambitious, innovative, and determined."

Nigel Tonks, Sustainable Development Leader, UKIMEA and Secondee to the UN High Level Climate Champions Team, Arup 

"As Gold Leaf members of UK GBC, signatories of the World Green Building Net Zero Buildings Commitment and founding signatories of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (convened by the UN and aligned to the Race to Zero) as well as one of the largest lenders to the UK built environment we have been delighted to be part of the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap process. It’s publication will help guide the whole built environment including finance in refining and executing their net zero transitional strategies."

Scott Barton, Managing Director, Corporate & Institutional Coverage, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Bank

"At Lendlease, we’re committed to playing our part in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to 1.5°C. We’ve made it our mission to be Net Zero Carbon by 2025 and Absolute Zero Carbon, with no offsets and no excuses, by 2040. In 2020 we published our Roadmap to Absolute Zero Carbon and a year on, we have published our first update, setting out the practical progress we’ve made so far. The UKGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap is a vital piece of work that maps out all the necessary steps needed to decarbonise our industry, across the entire value chain. As an investor, developer, builder and asset manager, we are pleased to see our own roadmap aligning so closely with its recommendations."

Neil Martin, CEO Europe, Lendlease

"This landmark initiative provides the structure, consensus and momentum to hold the built environment to account for its significant environmental impact. As an active partner to the BBP and UKGBC and with a validated Science-Based Target we’re fully aligned to the requirement for performance-based rating systems. We are already delivering a large scale domestic retrofit programme and tracking embodied carbon. But we can’t stop there. We fully support the creation of an industry-led carbon budget and trajectory for emissions reduction and will use this roadmap to enable and encourage our value chain to accelerate their net zero ambition, driving the decarbonisation of whole UK built environment."

James Raynor, CEO, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland

"Berkeley has set 1.5 degree aligned science-based targets which address the whole life carbon impacts of our business activities, including the emissions created by our supply chain and our homes. The UKGBC’s Roadmap will support us, and the wider built environment sector, to deliver against our targets and to find solutions to the complex challenges involved."


Rob Perrins, Chief Executive, Berkeley Group

“Development of the Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap is a great example of what can be achieved through collaborative action and we now have a shared vision and target date for the decarbonisation of our sector. As an industry, our technical expertise will help us to play a vital role in tackling the climate and biodiversity emergencies.” 

Colin Wood, Chief Executive, Europe, AECOM

"ROCKWOOL is among the few energy-intensive companies with emission reduction targets verified and approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. These equate to a one-third reduction in our lifecycle GHG emissions by 2034 and place us on a net zero trajectory. Additionally, our insulation has a critical role to play in helping the built environment decarbonise. We welcome UKGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, which provides valuable guidance to industry on reaching net zero through high-performing new development as well as the refurbishment of existing buildings, 80% of which will still be in use in 2050."

Darryl Matthews, Managing Director, ROCKWOOL

"Transitioning our economy towards net zero carbon is the crucial challenge of the decade ahead of us, and the built environment has a central role to play in this. This work by the UKGBC and partners will equip our industry with a clear path for climate action, and a much-needed carbon budget for our sector to work within. Beyond long-term emissions reduction trajectory, we must see short-term action. Hence, we welcome the focus put on providing specific interim progress which we’ll leverage for our own value chain in support to our Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment."

Nils Rage, Head of ESG, Stanhope

If you have any questions on the Roadmap or would like to provide feedback, please email ANZ@ukgbc.org.

UKGBC is hosting an industry launch for the Roadmap on Wednesday 8th December. The event will focus on the implications of the Roadmap and next steps for the industry. More information and registration links are on this page.

UKGBC is one of several European GBCs developing national Whole Life Carbon Roadmaps under the WorldGBC #BuildingLife project, funded by the Laudes Foundation and the Ikea Foundation. In the runup to COP26, WorldGBC has convened ten European Green Building Councils to galvanise climate action in the built environment through national and regional decarbonisation roadmaps. The Green Building Councils spearheading the project are Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. BuildingLife is accelerating ambitions in the building sector by creating the first region-wide response to the vision of a net-zero whole-life carbon-built environment as set out in WorldGBC’s 2019 report.