UKGBC publishes net-zero buildings guidance

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published Renewable Energy Procurement and Carbon Offsetting Guidance for Net Zero Carbon Buildings. This guidance provides clarity for the property and construction industry on the procurement of renewable energy and carbon offsets for net-zero buildings and organisations in the UK.

As identified by a Climate Change Committee report in December 2020, within the UK, the procurement of renewable electricity is currently having a limited impact, and in many cases, no impact at all on emissions reductions either for the organisation or for the country. This is because most of the renewable energy being procured today either already exists (from an existing wind farm for example) or is supported by Government subsidies. As a result, the procurement does not guarantee a causal relationship between an organisation’s action and any emission reduction delivered. This includes the vast majority of ‘green tariffs’, where the positive environmental impact is overstated.

The guidance released includes a set of principles which should be used to evaluate the quality of renewable energy procurement routes, including how to create additionality – driving a material increase in the UK’s renewable energy capacity.

Today’s 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. It also 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/or supports the UK and global transition to net-zero.

Full report here.

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