Zero-carbon possible in non-domestic buildings

The majority of new non-domestic buildings can be zero-carbon if onsite, near-site and offsite renewable energy sources are used, a new report has found.

Carbon Reductions in New Non-Domestic Buildings, compiled by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), also concluded that a challenging target should be set to achieve zero-carbon new non-domestic buildings.

It suggested adoption of a 2020 deadline, four years behind the Government’s target of 2016 for new domestic buildings.

The report, commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), is the result of several months work by a number of UK-GBC members – some of them competitors – who shared data and collaborated on the project.

They found that although there was a cost association with zero-carbon building, it could be as low as 5-10% of developers’ current baseline costs.

However, the UK-GBC said a lot of further work would have to be done before ministers could use the findings to set policies.

One of its key recommendations is the construction of a national database on energy use in non-domestic buildings to improve on the existing data, which the organisation said is currently incomplete and inconsistent.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK-GBC said: “This is about government and industry both taking responsibility.

“Government needs to accept its responsibility to set good policy focusing on outcomes, and in return industry can and must respond and innovate.

“UK-GBC members are up for ambitious targets on sustainability.

“We need a policy direction that provides sufficient urgency and certainty for investment, and a trajectory that is ambitious and stretching – but ultimately achievable.

“To make progress on green building we should be bold in our target setting, and work together to overcome the challenges en route.”

The report is available on the CLG’s website.

Kate Martin

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