UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has developed a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings to provide industry with clarity on how to achieve net zero carbon in construction and operation.
From November 2018 to March 2019, UKGBC brought together an extensive range of industry stakeholders, including a task group, to build consensus on a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings in the UK.
The primary focus of the framework is to set in place a path to achieve net zero carbon buildings in both construction and operation (in-use energy consumption), whilst beginning to provide direction for addressing whole life carbon in the industry.
The new framework offers guidance for developers, owners and occupiers targeting net zero carbon buildings, setting out key principles to follow and outlining how such a claim should be measured and evidenced. The framework defines and describes two approaches to net zero carbon which can be managed and delivered today:
- Net zero carbon – construction: “When the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative, through the use of offsets or the net export of on-site renewable energy.”
- Net zero carbon – operational energy – “When the amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or negative. A net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon balance offset.”
The framework is a freely available resource, which is intended to be used by building developers, designers, owners, occupiers and policy makers to inform the development of building tools, policies and practices and it can be downloaded from the UKGBC website.