To meet the UK’s aim of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the construction and building sector has been tasked with the responsibility of measuring, reducing and offsetting carbon emissions in the industry. All new buildings are required to be net-zero carbon by 2030 and all existing ones by 2050.
This mission is split into two key phases: the construction phase and then the operational phase. In this blog, we will focus on the construction phase of achieving net-zero carbon.
According to Peter Tse, from the BSRIA (Building Services Research and Information Association), the net-zero framework is a key challenge for the construction industry as it requires us to reassess the way buildings are designed, constructed, and run. He goes on to say we need to reconsider the way we do things, commencing a cultural change.
A verified net-zero carbon building is one where the embodied emission associated with the building products and the construction itself are measured, dramatically reduced, and also offset with other forms of energy i.e. renewables.
The Construction of a Net Zero Building
For decision-makers in control of the construction of a new build, the amount of carbon emissions allowed from the building’s products and the physical construction up to completion, must be either zero or negative. This is what is required for a net-zero building, and what the government is enforcing to occur by 2030.
The carbon emissions of this phase include the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing, transport, installation, waste, repair, refurbishment and end of life processing.
Key Ways to Achieve Net Zero Carbon in the Construction Phase
You must start by reducing the carbon emissions of the building project as far as can be achieved in order to begin with a lower starting point from which to offset. Ways of doing this include reducing the use of virgin building materials and products, reducing the use of energy from fossil fuel sources, and increasing the life-cycle of materials in order to avoid the need for replacements during the building’s life.
A net zero result can then be achieved through the use of offsets or the net export of on-site renewable energy. This means the building will benefit from the avoided carbon emissions from exporting energy to other users. Offsetting carbon emissions also can be done by reusing materials after the project is decommissioned.
There is also the option to repurpose building or building materials, as well as making your own repurposable for in the future. If there is any possibility of sequestering carbon from the project, this is also a permanent way of offsetting carbon emissions.
Sustain Quality are a Team of Sustainability Consultants
At Sustain Quality we want to help organisations like yours achieve net zero carbon buildings quickly and efficiently. We can help you with saving on energy costs and provide the guidance during your steps towards creating any sized net zero buildings.
From finding the electrical energy storage that fits your needs to determining energy efficient technologies your building can use, Sustain Quality will be able to identify the best solutions for your organisation.
Some of the assessments that may be used to best determine how you can meet net zero energy include:
- Energy Assessments
- SBEM Assessments (get your free guide)
- SAP Assessments (get your free guide)
- BREEAM Assessments
- Home Quality Mark
A net zero building is the first step to meeting your sustainability goals. Our dedicated team offers sustainability consulting in London that will help your organisation reduce carbon emissions and meet other green initiatives. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
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Our friendly team of engineers deliver sustainability and compliance solutions for developments in the commercial and residential sectors. We help organisations to maximise the environmental, social and governance (ESG) value of their buildings with a sustainability strategy that can be measured and improved over time.
Contact us at:
Sustain Quality Ltd
PO Box 393