Earlier this year a cross-industry partnership of leading organisations announced they were joining forces to develop the UK’s first standard for identifying and verifying buildings as net zero carbon. Long-awaited by industry, the ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard’ will set out a single, agreed set of performance targets for different asset types. It will also enable buildings claiming net zero carbon to demonstrate that they meet science-based decarbonisation trajectories.

Announced today, Related Argent’s David Partridge will Chair the initiative’s Governance Board, that will oversee the development, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of the Standard. Over and above his 30+ years in the industry, David brings a wealth of sustainability knowledge and leadership to the initiative. He is currently Chairman of Related Argent, former Chairman of UKGBC, immediate Past President of the British Property Federation and sits on the Construct Zero Advisory Board of the CLC.

The appointment was made following an open call for applications, and a competitive recruitment process involving an independent selection panel and several rounds of interviewing. The calibre of applications was extremely high – illustrating the urgent need and desire for this standard amongst major real estate players in the UK.

As previously announced, the Standard will cover both new and existing buildings and will set out performance targets/limits addressing operational energy and embodied carbon emissions to align with the UK’s 2050 net zero target and what’s necessary to deliver a built environment that decarbonises in line with a 1.5°C pathway. It will also cover the procurement of renewable energy and the treatment of residual emissions, including carbon offsetting. It will be critically relevant for any organisation seeking to fund, procure, design, construct, specify, or occupy a net zero carbon building and anyone wanting to demonstrate that their building is net zero-aligned with an industry-agreed standard.

Over the summer months the initiative’s Technical Steering Group has been assembling a range of Task Groups made up of stakeholders from across the industry to deliver elements of the Standard. The announcement of Task Group representatives will be made in the coming weeks, with work commencing imminently. Various elements of the Standard will be consulted on by industry with initial outputs expected in 2023.

David Partridge, Governance Board Chair, Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard & Chairman of Related Argent:

“It is a huge honour and responsibility to take on this role at such a critical point in time. If the real estate industry and built environment is to seriously address its impact on climate change, a universally adopted Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard is absolutely essential. This initiative is already backed by all of the leading professional institutions in the sector and my initial main task is to extend its reach to all of the bodies that represent developers, owners, investors, financiers and managers of real estate as well as the contractors and their supply chain, who build it.

Together we will then have a single industry backed NZCB Standard which can be utilised across the sector and used to approach government enabling them to measure, verify and account for the built environment’s achievement of net zero targets. The impact this would have on ensuring that the UK achieves its 2035 and 2050 commitments will be game-changing.”

Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner at FORE Partnership & UKGBC Trustee:

“David brings a wealth of experience in delivering on ESG and a passion for a net zero built environment. I congratulate him on the appointment and look forward to the development of the Net Zero Carbon Standard, a universal definition of net zero which is absolutely vital if we are to unlock future delivery of sustainable towns and cities and mitigate climate change.”

Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO at Better Buildings Partnership:

“The development of a Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard is going to require radical collaboration across the whole of the built environment sector and we are delighted that a Chair has been appointed to lead this critical initiative. David’s vast industry experience and commitment to sustainability will prove hugely valuable in coalescing the industry around a single Standard for net zero carbon buildings, drawing upon the knowledge and experience of a significant number of organisations and individuals that are already mobilising to deliver this.”

Further Information

The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard is being developed by an industry partnership which consists of the following industry bodies: BBP, BRE, the Carbon Trust, CIBSE, IStructE, LETI, RIBA, RICS, and UKGBC. For more information about the initiative and to remain up to date, please visit https://www.nzcbuildings.co.uk

The Standard is anticipated to provide auditing, verification and reporting requirements. It is expected that claims will be required to be validated based on in-use measured data and interim verification of an asset at design stage or once the asset is built but not yet operating may also be considered.

The Governance Board will oversee the initiative and govern the development, implementation, and ongoing operation and maintenance of the standard. The Technical Steering Group is responsible for the direction and technical decision-making of the Standard development; this group will bring together technical experts and sector specific expertise via a set of focussed task and sector groups.

The independent Selection Panel for appointing Chair of the Governance Board included:

  • Janine Cole, Chair, BBP
  • Hywel Davies, Technical Director, CIBSE
  • Patrick Hayes, Technical Director, IStructE
  • Clare Murray, Board Member, LETI
  • Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner at FORE Partnership & UKGBC Trustee

Members of the Governance Board include:

  • Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO, Better Buildings Partnership
  • Fiona Cousins, Vice President & Hywel Davies, Technical Director, CIBSE
  • Martin Powell, CEO, IStructE
  • Chris Twinn, Board Member, LETI
  • Duncan Baker-Brown, Council Member, RIBA
  • Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UKGBC
  • Yetunde Abdul, Head of Climate Action, UKGBC

The Technical Steering Group consists of representatives from: BBP, BRE, the Carbon Trust, CIBSE, IStructE, LETI, RIBA, RICS, and UKGBC.