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Task force launches to clear up zero-carbon building confusion

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A major new task force has been set up in a bid to resolve the ‘lack of clarity’ over energy-efficient buildings in the UK market

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has launched the group with the aim of establishing a working industry definition on zero net carbon buildings.

The programme forms part of a global campaign led by the World Green Building Council (WGBC) to create a built environment in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement.

It follows the recent IPCC special report which warned that the world is now badly off track in meeting the preferred target of a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures, instead moving towards 3°C.

Richard Twinn, senior policy advisor at UKGBC, said while the construction and property industry is ready to start delivering net zero carbon buildings there is still a ’lack of clarity’ about what a net zero carbon building means in practice.

’This initiative is aiming to move beyond discussions about specific tools and policies towards buildings that work as intended and achieve genuine net zero carbon. We are seeking to create an agreed industry-led definition for net zero carbon buildings in the UK, to ensure we are all working towards the same outcomes,’ he said.

We want to create an agreed industry-led definition for net zero carbon buildings

The definition will then be used to inform project designs, reporting initiatives, planning requirements and building regulations.

The 30-strong group, which is being supported by 11 leading industry bodies including the RIBA, will also examine what net zero carbon will mean for new buildings, including how they operate in-use.

Chris Medland, of sustainability specialists One World Design, said: ’In the current government policy vacuum (due to the distraction of Brexit) the UKGBC are leading the way in shaping the construction industries approach to meeting our commitments under the climate change act and this is to be applauded.

’Statute will be required to make certain of progress however towards carbon zero so hopefully once the government get their act together this task group will be ready to tell government exactly what carbon zero is.

In 2015, then chancellor George Osborne controversially scrapped plans to make all new homes carbon neutral as part of a bid to speed up housebuilding.

An industry consultation on the task group proposals will be opened in February, with the final output published in spring 2019.

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