The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published guidance that aims to provide clarity for the property and construction industry on the procurement of high-quality renewable energy and carbon offsets for net-zero buildings and organisations in the UK.
The Renewable Energy Procurement and Carbon Offsetting Guidance for Net Zero Carbon Buildings includes a set of principles which the UKGBC says should be used to evaluate the quality of renewable energy procurement routes, including how to create additionality – i.e. driving a material increase in the UK’s renewable energy capacity.
The guidance also outlines how the environmental integrity of an offset is determined, the existing carbon standards that provide this assurance of integrity, and how domestic carbon standards can play a role within organisational net-zero strategies.
Further, it sets out a ‘leadership approach’, which demonstrates how organisations and consumers can use carbon offsetting to go beyond emission reductions and support the development of a broader value proposition that is aligned to long-term business strategies and supports the UK and global transition to net-zero.
Designed to support UKGBC’s landmark report Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition, the guidance is intended to be used by building developers, designers, owners, occupiers, and policy makers.
‘Important step forward’
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC, said: “Designing for reductions in whole-life carbon and greater energy efficiency are just two pieces of a complex puzzle when it comes to our transition to net-zero carbon buildings.
“The importance of the principles put forward in this guidance to evaluate the quality of renewable energy procurement routes, to calculate the residual emissions, and to offset those residual emissions in a meaningful way, is paramount to ensure the credibility of any net-zero carbon building claim.
“This guidance marks an important step forward in helping the industry to deliver on our net-zero targets, and ultimately respond to the climate crisis with buildings that are fit for the future.”
Chris Oglesby, chief executive at Bruntwood, said: “This guidance provides a vital definition of what good looks like. This will help the industry on its path towards a more sustainable future and, by setting clear standards to live up to, safeguard against greenwash.
“The UK is establishing an enviable track record in renewable power but there are many hard yards left to run in the race to net zero.
“Property has a mission critical role to play in investing in the infrastructure and technologies needed to reduce the sizeable share of emissions from the built environment.”
Syed Ahmed, director, Energy for London, said: “This new guidance from the UKGBC is a major contribution in helping developers better understand what routes are available to secure renewable energy supplies as a tool to deliver net zero carbon buildings.
“This is a complex area, but one of growing importance as long-term procurement of renewables presents significant opportunities in driving forward new renewable generation capacity in cities and more widely, supporting the renewables sector at a challenging time.”
The guidance has been developed in collaboration with a task group of 32 industry experts and informed by a consultation run by UKGBC last year, which received feedback from 61 stakeholders.
This work forms part of UKGBC’s Advancing Net Zero Programme.
Image: franco lucato/Shutterstock
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