New task group focuses on zero carbon non-domestic buildings

Zero carbon building standards for non-domestic buildings are planned to come into effect in the UK from 2019. Ahead of this deadline, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has established a task group that will examine the impacts and opportunities brought about by the new rules.

The task group aims to inform the upcoming zero carbon building standards and explore how the Allowable Solutions market can deliver high value carbon saving solutions in the built environment.

In particular, the group will seek to understand the solutions and approaches the industry is currently pursuing, and identify those likely to be most effective. They will also look at UK Government policy such as the Allowable Solutions framework, and establish how this can deliver reliable and high value on-site, near-site and off-site carbon savings.

Allowable Solutions is the term for the flexibility mechanism that will enable developers to deliver zero carbon standards cost effectively. Once an on-site minimum standard has been achieved, they can choose to invest in carbon saving projects on, near or off-site to deliver the rest of their obligation.

Among the members of the task group are major companies challenged with delivering zero carbon non-domestic buildings from 2019, including John Lewis, Whitbread, Argent and British Land.

The policy for all new non-domestic buildings to be built to zero carbon standards by 2019 was announced in 2008. It followed the zero carbon homes policy for 2016, which was introduced in 2006.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, commented: The zero carbon policies for both new homes and non-domestic buildings are vital for decarbonising our building stock and meeting the UK’s climate change targets. Confirming their trajectories should be a key priority for the new Government.

Although the policy for non-domestic buildings remains under-developed, UK-GBC members are already pushing ahead. The overwhelming response we have had to this task group proves how many of our members are keen to start designing and delivering zero carbon new buildings, in view of the clear business benefits.

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