UK's first net zero carbon buildings standard

A cross-industry partnership of leading organisations have joined forces to develop the UK's first standard for identifying and verifying buildings as net zero carbon.

The ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard’ will set out a single, agreed set of performance targets for different asset types. It will also enable buildings claiming net zero carbon to demonstrate that they meet science based decarbonisation trajectories.

Related Argent’s David Partridge will Chair the initiative’s Governance Board, that will oversee the development, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of the Standard. David brings a wealth of sustainability knowledge and leadership to the initiative. He is currently Chairman of Related Argent, former Chairman of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), immediate Past President of the British Property Federation and sits on the Construct Zero Advisory Board of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

the Standard will cover both new and existing buildings and will set out performance targets/limits addressing operational energy and embodied carbon emissions to align with the UK's 2050 net zero target and what's necessary to deliver a built environment that decarbonises in line with a 1.5°C pathway. It will also cover the procurement of renewable energy and the treatment of residual emissions, including carbon offsetting. It will be critically relevant for any organisation seeking to fund, procure, design, construct, 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.

Over the summer months the initiative’s Technical Steering Group has been assembling a range of Task Groups made up of stakeholders from across the industry to deliver elements of the Standard. The announcement of Task Group representatives will be made in the coming weeks, with work commencing imminently. Various elements of the Standard will be consulted on by industry with initial outputs expected in 2023.

David Partridge, Governance Board Chair, Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard & Chairman of Related Argent said: "It is a huge honour and responsibility to take on this role at such a critical point in time. If the real estate industry and built environment is to seriously address its impact on climate change, a universally adopted Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard is absolutely essential.

"This initiative is already backed by all of the leading professional institutions in the sector and my initial main task is to extend its reach to all of the bodies that represent developers, owners, investors, financiers and managers of real estate as well as the contractors and their supply chain, who build it.

"Together we will then have a single industry backed NZCB Standard which can be utilised across the sector and used to approach government enabling them to measure, verify and account for the built environment's achievement of net zero targets. The impact this would have on ensuring that the UK achieves its 2035 and 2050 commitments will be game- changing."

Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner at FORE Partnership & UKGBC Trustee said: "David brings a wealth of experience in delivering on ESG and a passion for a net zero built environment. I congratulate him on the appointment and look forward to the development of the Net Zero Carbon Standard, a universal definition of net zero which is absolutely vital if we are to unlock future delivery of sustainable towns and cities and mitigate climate change."

Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO at Better Buildings Partnership said: "The development of a Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard is going to require radical collaboration across the whole of the built environment sector and we are delighted that a Chair has been appointed to lead this critical initiative. David’s vast industry experience and commitment to sustainability will prove hugely valuable in coalescing the industry around a single Standard for net zero carbon buildings, drawing upon the knowledge and experience of a significant number of organisations and individuals that are already mobilising to deliver this."