By signing the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration, the mayors of cities including London, Los Angeles and Paris have pledged to introduce planning regulations that will require all new buildings to operate at net-zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings by 2050.

The declaration, orchestrated by the C40 group of cities, requires the mayors to establish a net-zero building roadmap, develop supporting incentives and programme and report annually on their progress towards the 2030 goal.

It additionally stipulates that the mayors must evaluate the feasibility of reporting on emissions beyond operational carbon, such as refrigerants.

The signatories to the declaration are the mayors of Copenhagen, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Tshwane, Vancouver, and Washington D.C.

“As mayors of the world’s great cities, we recognise our responsibility to ensure every building, whether historic or brand new, helps deliver a sustainable future for our citizens,” Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said. “With this commitment, cities are getting the job done, concretely delivering on the Paris Agreement and building better cities for generations to come.”

Beyond these commitments, 13 of the mayors have also said their local authorities will refuse to own, occupy or develop assets that are not net-zero carbon after 2030. These are  Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Montreal, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Tshwane and Vancouver.

The declaration follows a similar initiative from the World Green Building Council (WGBC), which this summer called on corporates within the built environment sector to set net-zero carbon goals for 2030.  

UK horizons

Outlining how London would deliver on the commitment, Mayor Sadiq Khan said he would expand the existing standard of zero-carbon new homes to apply to all new buildings in 2019. The move will form part of his pledge to make London a carbon-neutral city by 2050, as outlined in the recently-published London Environment Strategy.

Khan’s commitment to the declaration comes shortly after Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to halve the energy use from new buildings by 2030. The UK Government will also aim to halve the energy costs from the existing building stock – both domestically and commercially. Heat and power from buildings currently account for 40% of national energy usage.

In November, the Government struck an agreement with the construction industry to halve emissions in the built environment over the next eight years, while edie’s own Sector Insight report found that almost two-thirds of businesses operating in the construction industry are more committed to taking action on sustainability than they were 12 months ago.

Sarah George

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