The use of the terminology “net zero” is being used increasingly in the construction sector. It can mean two main things: net zero building or net zero at organisational level. While the two are linked, this article focuses on net zero building.

There have been discussions about the definition of net zero buildings for over a decade, but there has been renewed interest in the last couple of years.

In 2019, the UKGBC published a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings, which sets our definitions and principles around two approaches to net zero:
1. Net zero carbon – construction (referring to the carbon emissions generated during the manufacturing, transport and installation of construction products).
2. Net zero carbon – operational energy.
Some organisations choose to be net zero in operation only, but to be truly net zero should require the inclusion of the construction impact. Net zero is different from absolute zero and often requires the
need to offset emissions that have not been eliminated. Good practice dictates that emissions should be reduced as much as possible before being offset.

Continue reading as we look at the UK Net Zero Carbon Standard and useful sources of data on embodied carbon products.