Ask Our Experts – May’s Top Question


Q: Should I be planning for my buildings and estate to be net zero carbon, and if so, over what timescale?
Name withheld by request.         

A: This is a very interesting question. Zero carbon isn’t quite upon us, but the UK socio-economic climate is showing more interest, and the political, legislative and regulatory environment are very likely to force UK public and private sector organisations to zero carbon.

Several UK cities and large scale organisations have already committed to zero carbon operational performance for between 2025 and 2040, for instance:

  • Grosvenor estate have vowed to hit ‘net zero’ emissions by 2030
  • The University of Edinburgh has committed to become zero carbon by 2040
  • Glasgow is set to be the first UK city to reach net-zero carbon emissions, setting a target for meeting the goal by 2045
  • Tesco, Sky and Siemens are amongst a group of eleven leading businesses who have partnered with the Mayor of London, to make London zero carbon by 2050.

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) launched the global Advancing Net Zero Campaign which has set targets for all buildings to be net zero carbon in operation by 2050 and all new buildings to meet this standard by 2030.

The definitions and methodologies to deliver a net zero carbon performance in real estate are now emerging. UKGBC has just developed a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings to provide the industry with clarity on how to achieve net zero carbon in construction and operation.

So in response to your question, yes you should currently be planning for your UK estate, buildings and operations to achieve net zero carbon between 2030 and 2035. The advantage of taking the initial steps now is to ensure any new buildings or refurbishments are future-proofed, and you have time to set the route and pace to net zero carbon for your organisation, rather than have it imposed on you later.

Naturally, we’re happy to answer any follow up questions on this topic, or any other buildings and estates related topics.

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