The UK Green Building Council has published Unlocking the Delivery of Net Zero Carbon Buildings, a guide to overcoming current barriers in the design process.
Following September’s launch of Building the Case for Net Zero – a feasibility study into the design, delivery and cost of new net-zero carbon buildings – the council identified a need for more research into the challenges faced by those striving to supply net-zero carbon buildings to increase their uptake.
The new guidance is intended to help developers and project teams to identify and respond to credible barriers during the process of delivering net-zero carbon buildings.
Alongside each barrier outlined is a corresponding opportunity that explores how it can be conquered. The paper sets out a total of 17 barriers, grouped by RIBA stage, and categorises the opportunities to address them against four themes:
- Design – ways to integrate net-zero carbon into the building design or design process. This includes setting net-zero carbon outcomes early on in the project’s strategy to inspire design teams to think innovatively.
- Cost – ways to finance net-zero carbon buildings. This includes accounting for future ‘brown discounts’ and ‘green premiums’ and a shift in perspective to whole-life investment rather than just immediate capital expenditure.
- Stakeholder engagement – ways to integrate net-zero carbon into the decision-making process of all stakeholders. This includes identifying growing investor and occupier net-zero ambitions.
- Innovation – ways to capitalise on new processes, mechanisms, and technologies to achieve net-zero buildings. This includes using new financing mechanisms and alternative building materials.
This guidance arrives as the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) launches NABERS UK, a system for certifying the in-use energy performance of office buildings. This tool recognises the growing need for transparency and disclosure from building owners and investors, as the market begins to shift towards net-zero carbon buildings.
Alastair Mant, head of business transformation at the council, said: “The race to net-zero is on and it's fantastic to see many developers and design teams setting bold ambitions. Achieving the necessary reductions in embodied and operational carbon requires large-scale changes to how buildings are designed, constructed, and operated.
“There are many barriers along the way and we must work quickly to identify them and the corresponding opportunities to overcome them. We have created this guidance to point developers and design teams towards some existing opportunities and we will keep sharing solutions in order to accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon buildings.”
The project forms part of the council’s Advancing Net Zero Programme, supported by its partners the Redevco Foundation, BAM Construct UK, Berkeley Group, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Hoare Lea and JLL UK.
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