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London pledges to make all new buildings net zero carbon by 2030

By Francesca Wiley
14th September 2018

19 cities around the globe have committed to make all new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030

Coinciding with the GRESB 2018 results launch it has been announced that 19 cities around the globe have committed to make all new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030. This is part of a movement by cities to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly from cities and essential to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.

What is net zero carbon?

Net zero carbon buildings are those which reduce all energy use as far as technically possible, with remaining demand met through renewable sources.

Why the commitment?

In the UK, buildings account for around 30% of our annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Globally, buildings are expected to double by 2050 but currently under 1% are net-zero.

Cities are acknowledging this challenge and that they play a key role in reducing emissions and supporting SDG 11 in particular (Sustainable Cities and Communities). This is tantamount if we are to achieve the Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to 2 degrees, or 1.5 degrees, especially with population growth.

What exactly is the commitment?

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration is a commitment by mayors representing 130 million urban citizens and organised by C40 cities, to ensure all new buildings are net-zero carbon by 2030. It is a signal of working together with state and regional governments and the private sector to drive a transformation concerning urban buildings. It is also part of the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Building Commitment.

Those included in the landmark commitment include London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Montreal and others. The declaration also includes a vow to ensure policy targets existing buildings to meet net-zero carbon standards by 2050.


So, what does this mean?

Cities that have signed up will have to

  • Establish a roadmap to reach net zero carbon buildings
  • Develop a range of supporting incentives and programmes
  • Report annually on progress towards meeting the targets
  • Evaluate the feasibility of reporting on emissions beyond operational control (e.g. refrigerants)

 Implications for business

It is hoped that this will make the global green building sector mainstream, as it challenges construction and property organisations to eliminate operational carbon emissions from their portfolios. At the first of the GRESB 2018 results events on the 11th September GRESB applauded this commitment as a landmark effort to decarbonise our built environment.

Benchmarks such as CDP and GRESB will become only more important to investors

Companies will have to analyse how they can retrofit, renovate and construct in order to ensure delivery of low-carbon, energy-efficient buildings.

As a result we envisage benchmarks such as CDP and GRESB to become only more important to investors, and compliance exercises such as ESOS and SECR (CRC’s replacement) too. Tracking and analysing carbon emissions associated with buildings at a more detailed level will become a necessity.

If you’d like to chat to a member of our team about this or how we might be able to support you in your journey, contact mess at info@carbon.ci