International alliance forged to unlock finance for sustainable buildings

The Building Research Establishment (BRE), the US Green Building Council and the Green Building Council of Australia are set to develop practical guidance for investors, property developers, property owners and governments on financing the delivery of buildings certified in line with the world’s most popular certification schemes for sustainable buildings.

Guidance will cover new buildings and the retrofitting of existing sites, taking in the BREEAM, LEED and Green Star certification schemes. More than 640,000 buidlings worldwide are certified to at least one of these standards, with hundreds of thousands more striving for certification.

The US Green Building Council’s chief executive Peter Templeton said: “The green building community has proven that buildings can accelerate global decarbonisation while advancing critical human health, climate resilience, and social equity imperatives.

“Increasing the flow of capital to buildings and portfolios delivering these outcomes is essential to expanding the scale and impact of this work.”

The coalition’s first practical guide will be published this June, to coincide with London Climate Action Week. It will outline the sustainable finance instruments currently available to the real estate market, such as green loans and green bonds, and provide recommendations for scaling these solutions.

Future guidance to policymakers will cover how these kinds of finance instruments can be included in sustainable finance taxonomies. The UK is notably set to publish its own taxonomy in this space later this year, following a string of delays.

New UKGBC guidance

In related news, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has this week published new guidance on measuring and reporting embodied carbon emissions from buildings.

Operational emissions (from energy used to heat, cool and light buildings) account for 28% of the built environment sector’s 39% contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. The remaining 11% derives from embodied carbon emissions found in the material and construction processes across a building’s entire lifecycle.

UKGBC has long been advocating for businesses in its sector to set net-zero targets that cover both operational and embodied emissions. Its new guidance updates best-practice embedded carbon measurement advice for developers, owners, contractors, facilities managers, investors and lenders.

It also outlines how architects, engineers and other providers of professional services can measure and reduce emissions across the lifecycle of their projects.

UKGBC’s head of climate action Yetunde Abdul said: “As the need for holistic, comprehensive and accurate embodied carbon reporting continues to rise, it is essential not to underestimate the importance of Scope 3 emissions.

“Given that a substantial portion of Scope 3 emissions originates from the embodied carbon of construction projects, achieving alignment and consistency is critical. This guidance aims to enhance understanding by bridging the gap between existing best practices and providing strategies for optimising reporting clarity and transparency.”

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