UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard
The UK's first cross- industry Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard that brings together Net-Zero Carbon requirements for all major building types, based on a 1.5°C trajectory. Leading organisations BBP, BRE, the Carbon Trust, CIBSE, IStructE, LETI, RIBA, RICS, and UKGBC have joined forces to champion this initiative.
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. The Standard will align as far as possible with existing Net Zero initiatives and Standards, see the FAQs page for more information.
Technical Update & Consultation
Through the determination and hard work of members of our task groups, sectors groups, and data providers we have been able to meet our next important milestone.
In June 2023, we shared with you our Technical Update and launched a period of consultation.
Our Technical Update described the technical fundamentals behind the Standard, detailing the metrics that buildings will be assessed against to demonstrate that they are aligned with what is required for the UK built environment to achieve Net Zero Carbon.
It also described the work that has been undertaken to gain an understanding of the operational energy and embodied carbon performance levels that provide the context of technical feasibility for various sectors. This was the main focus of the consultation.
Finally, we outlined the approach being taken to determine relevant budgets for carbon and energy, which informed the limits that will follow in later stages of work.
More detail on the UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard
What will it cover?
The Standard will set out metrics by which net zero carbon performance is evaluated, as well as performance targets, or limits, that need to be met. These are likely to include energy use, upfront embodied carbon, and lifecycle embodied carbon, with other metrics – such as space heating/cooling demand and peak load – also to be considered. It will also cover the approach to carbon accounting, procuring renewable energy, and the treatment of residual emissions, including carbon ‘offsetting’. However, the scope and output of the Standard may evolve throughout the development process.
It is expected that claims will be required to be validated based on in-use measured data and interim verification of an asset at design stage or once the asset is built but not yet operating may also be considered.
Who is it for?
The output will be for developers, contractors, asset owners and managers, occupiers, investors, financiers and funders, consultants, building industry professionals, building managers and product/material manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. It is for anyone who wants to either fund, procure, design, or specify a Net Zero Carbon Building and anyone wanting to demonstrate that their building is 'Net Zero'-aligned with an industry-agreed Standard.
Will it be science-based?
Performance targets will align with science-based trajectories needed to achieve net zero by 2050 and a 78% reduction by 2035 in the UK, i.e. what is known to be required to stand a reasonable chance of mitigating global warming to 1.5°C. It will also align with the energy demand reductions projected to be required to enable a net zero carbon energy supply sector.
What building types will it apply to?
The approach will be applicable to both existing and new buildings (e.g. Homes, Offices, Education, Industry, Retail, Hotels, Healthcare etc.). To start, the focus will be on the most common building typologies, especially those for which industry stakeholders have already robust performance data available to inform the setting of performance targets. The Standard will not apply to infrastructure.