Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

Buildings task group launched to define ‘zero-carbon’

Dominic Alves via flickr

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is launching a new task group to debate the definition of ‘zero-carbon’ for non-domestic buildings.

In 2008, the Labour government set the target that all newly constructed non-domestic buildings would be zero-carbon from 2019. The current coalition government has remained committed to this objective, but there is still no clear definition of what a zero-carbon building precisely is.

In the context of housing, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) stated that zero-carbon means that a home should be net zero-carbon over the year for all energy use in the home. This would include energy use from cooking, washing and electronic entertainment appliances as well as heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and hot water.

The UKGBC has suggested that a comparable definition for non-domestic buildings would mean that equipment such as computers in offices and fridges in supermarkets would be covered.

Sarah Cary, sustainable developments executive at British Land and chair of the task group, said, “The implementation date for zero-carbon non domestic – 2019 – is not very far away and the earlier we can get clarity on the definition, the better for industry. 

“This group offers a chance for industry to set out what it thinks should happen next, and help build a strong business and economic case for action.”

In September, the World Green Building Week 2013 highlighted the health benefits of living and working in sustainable buildings. 

Paul King, chief executive of UKGBC, said at the time, “We often hear about the environmental and financial benefits of green buildings, but less attention is paid to the impact on those who live and work in them.

“Whether it’s improved productivity in offices, faster recovery rates in hospitals or better exam results in schools, sustainable buildings don’t just deliver important benefits for planet and profit. World Green Building Week aims to highlight how green buildings greatly enhance the lives of their occupants.”

Further reading:

World Green Building Week to focus on health benefits of sustainable buildings

Government risks ‘losing momentum’ on sustainable homes

Government consultation on zero-carbon homes welcomed by industry

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