Coalition of leading industry bodies join forces to develop UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard


Tags: Net Zero News

A cross-industry steering group, representing stakeholders across the built environment, have joined together to develop a standard for verifying UK buildings as net zero carbon.

The UKGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap demonstrates that buildings are directly responsible for around a quarter of carbon emitted by the UK. There is therefore no credible pathway to net zero for the UK economy without tackling emissions associated with the construction and operation of our buildings. 

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. Leading industry organisations BBP, BRE, the Carbon Trust, CIBSE, IStructE, LETI, RIBA, RICS, and UKGBC have joined forces to champion this initiative.

The Standard will cover both new and existing buildings and will set out performance targets addressing operational energy and embodied carbon emissions to align with the UK’s 2035 and 2050 emissions targets (78% reduction and net zero respectively). It will also cover the procurement of renewable energy and the treatment of residual emissions, including carbon offsetting. 

It will be for anyone who wants to fund, procure, design, specify, or occupy a net zero carbon building and anyone wanting to demonstrate that their building is net zero-aligned with an industry-agreed standard.

The group are seeking support from stakeholders across the industry to deliver elements of the Standard. More details on the task groups and other ways to get involved can be found in the launch document and individuals, and organisations who wish to contribute should submit an application by 6th June. The group intends to consult on work at various stages of its development, with work commencing in July.


Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO of BBP said: “A UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard will be critical for asset owners and managers to evidence that their buildings are built and operating in line with climate science. An industry wide Standard will enable stakeholders including investors and occupiers to differentiate between assets that are ‘net zero’ and those that are not. It will take radical collaboration to deliver this project. We look forward to contributing the insights of the BBP’s members and working with other organisations to create a standard around which the industry can coalesce."

Dr Shamir Ghumra, Head of Building Performance Services, BRE said: “The pace of change needed in the built environment on this issue is getting more significant by the day; this leading group of organisations from across the spectrum of our sector coming together to collaborate in this way is testament to the sense of urgency we all have. Building consensus on this topic is going to bring together all stakeholders and supply chain organisations in a common consistent framework which will itself generate greater efficiencies in the marketplace.”

Dominic Burbridge, Director at the Carbon Trust said: “We look forward to contributing to the development of this highly impactful standard, which will be instrumental in guiding the UK real estate industry, the construction sector and the wider built environment, in the rapid and urgent transition towards net zero. Addressing the energy demand of the built environment and the associated emissions is a key driver in accelerating the move to a sustainable, decarbonised future and we are excited to be supporting such an important and pioneering initiative.”  

Kevin Mitchell, CIBSE President and Mott McDonald Global Practice Leader, Building Services Engineering said: "CIBSE is delighted to be contributing our expertise to support this important initiative on Net Zero. It is urgently needed to deliver a clear standard to demonstrate real outcomes and give trust to clients, owners and occupiers. We look forward to working with the wide range of parties committed to deliver the standard"

IStructE Chief Executive, Martin Powell, said: “The UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard will enable individual projects, and thus the wider industry, to understand our progress in creating buildings with net zero emissions. I am pleased that the Institution of Structural Engineers will be supporting the development of this important new Standard.”

Notes to editors: 

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  • The Standard is anticipated to provide the auditing, verification and reporting requirements. 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.
  • A Governance Board will oversee the initiative and govern the development, implementation, and ongoing operation and maintenance of the standard. The Technical Steering Group is responsible for the direction and technical decision-making of the Standard development; this group will bring together technical experts and sector specific expertise via a set of focussed task and sector groups.