UKGBC: Office sector must reduce energy by 60% for net-zero carbon

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net zero carbon, office sector, UK Green Building Council,

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published the energy performance targets for commercial offices that are aiming to achieve net-zero carbon

The new energy targets represent more stretching requirements for commercial offices claiming net-zero in operation and set out a trajectory of tightening energy performance requirements over the next fifteen years.

Reduce energy demand by 60% by 2050

Following direct engagement with industry and analysis of the projected zero-carbon energy capacity of the UK, UKGBC is recommending that the offices sector should reduce energy demand by an average of 60% by 2050 to help the UK achieve net-zero.

The targets were developed as an addition to UKGBC’s landmark 2019 report ‘Net-Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition’, which sets out guidance for buildings seeking to achieve net-zero for construction and operational energy. They have been developed in collaboration with Verco, Better Buildings Partnership and BPF, with support from Arup, Carbon Intelligence, JLL UK and TfL.

Offices seeking zero carbon for operational energy should first meet the energy performance targets, then meet demand as far as possible through renewable energy and finally offset any remaining carbon. This data should then be independently verified and publicly disclosed on an annual basis to demonstrate how the net-zero balance has been achieved.

Decarbonising our energy systems

Richard Twinn, senior policy advisor at UKGBC said: “At the start of the decade of action, the most important action that the building sector can take is to drive down energy demand.

“This will be crucial to decarbonising our energy systems in the most cost-effective way, and ensuring that buildings only use their ‘fair share’ of energy in a net-zero carbon economy.

“The net-zero carbon buildings framework was introduced to bring consistency about what net-zero carbon means in practice. The industry is already starting to use the framework to meet net-zero, but these targets will begin to raise the bar for offices, placing much greater emphasis on energy efficiency before renewable energy and offsets.

“They will challenge the offices sector and show the way towards buildings that are truly fit for 2050.”

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