UKGBC presses government on zero carbon deadline
Ensure all new non-domestic buildings are zero carbon by 2019 and give us a clear definition of the term, demands task group
Report from – Jo Smit
A UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) task group has urged the government to push ahead with plans to ensure all new non-domestic buildings are built to zero carbon standards from 2019, and to set out a clear and ambitious definition of zero carbon. The government last committed publicly to the target in late 2010.
The task group’s report also sets out the case for the UK to become the ‘first mover’ in Europe in defining zero carbon to capitalise on the economic growth and export opportunities of low carbon building knowledge, skills and technology.
Key recommendations of the report, Building zero carbon – the case for action, include:
- Government should work with industry to create a routemap for 2019 and beyond
- Zero carbon’s technical definition should mirror that of housing, incorporating a minimum building efficiency standard and a minimum on-site carbon emissions target
- The allowable solutions mechanism applied to housing should be applied to non-domestic buildings
- The definition of regulated energy in 2016 should be extended to cover more fixed building services, including over door heaters, lifts and escalators. Whole life carbon emissions still outside the scope of Part L should be brought into regulation after 2019. These include other unregulated energy uses and embodied carbon.
Sarah Cary, sustainable developments executive at British Land, who chaired the task group, said: “With 2019 fast approaching, industry desperately needs clarity on an ambitious definition of zero carbon and a roadmap detailing how we’ll get there.”
To coincide with the report launch, UKGBC chief executive Paul King, E.ON UK chief executive Tony Cocker, and 26 top industry executives have written a joint open letter to communities minister Stephen Williams arguing that there is a “very strong economic case” for a robust definition of zero carbon”. King explained: “The business benefits of zero carbon non-domestic buildings are huge, boosting innovation that could help to create export opportunities in excess of £1bn by 2050.”