The forthcoming Net Zero Carbon Building Standard is due to be published in 2024. It is likely that when the Standard’s outputs are released, the Framework will evolve. Please refer to our Implementation Guidance for more information.

UKGBC published the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework Definition in 2019 to provide the industry with clarity on the definition of net zero carbon buildings. It sets out high-level principles for achieving net zero carbon for construction and for operational energy, with the intention that further detail and stricter requirements would be developed over time. 

The framework sets out an overarching set of principles to follow, with a ‘reduction first’ approach to achieving net zero carbon. Each principle includes the approach that should be followed, technical requirements and, where relevant, any areas for future development.

Relationship with the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard

Following market analysis which showed a clear demand for a single agreed methodology for making ‘net zero’ claims, the project to deliver the UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard (the Standard) was launched in 2022 to enable industry to robustly prove their built assets are net zero carbon and in line with our nation’s climate targets. The Standard is due to be made available in early 2024 – readers are encouraged to stay up-to-date with the development of the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard via this website.

Whilst UKGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework (i.e., this webpage) remains current, it is likely that when the Standard’s outputs are published, the Framework will evolve to continue providing guidance to support buildings in achieving net zero carbon (complementing the Standard). Specifically, the Framework Definition in its current form is anticipated to be superseded by the Standard, but the supplementary guidance documents will continue to support stakeholders in designing, delivering, and operating buildings in line with net zero carbon. UKGBC has developed Implementation Guidance to support industry during this transition period (2023-4).

Framework clarifications

Since 2019, UKGBC has published (or supported the development of) additional pieces of guidance which layer onto the original framework. This guidance strengthens the framework with additional technical requirements and, in some instances, supersedes the high-level guidance within the original framework.

To support the navigation of this guidance alongside the framework, to take account of the ongoing emerging industry net zero carbon buildings guidance and best practice and responding to common queries received we have produced a NZCB Framework Definitions Clarifications document available here.

The below outlines key clarifications to the original framework and the related the Carbon reduction hierarchy principal points clarified.

Framework Documents


For all the latest UKGBC updates on net zero buildings, please visit the Advancing Net Zero homepage or email us with any queries or comments at