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Together let’s create sustainable,
net zero carbon buildings
for a better, healthier future

a net zero future

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What is a net zero 
carbon building?

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Net zero in operation

For the operational carbon emissions of a building to be zero, it must be highly energy efficient and powered by renewable energy either on or off-site, with any remaining annual carbon emissions offset.

Net zero in construction

For a building to be net zero in construction, the carbon emissions associated with the building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion, needs to be offset through the net export of onsite renewable energy or by offsetting the emissions.

Net zero in whole life carbon

A truly net zero building must achieve net zero in whole life carbon, this means that the building operation and embodied carbon over its lifetime, including its disposal, are zero or negative.

A net zero carbon building is simply a building that in construction and operation has no net carbon emissions. Carbon emissions are reduced as much as possible and any residual carbon emissions are balanced by renewable energy or carbon offsets.

Here are the three main categories that will be assessed to evaluate the operational and embodied carbon emissions of a building.

What is a net zero carbon building?

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Reduced carbon
emissions

Renewable energy and carbon offset

Net zero thinking and projects

Buildings are the foundation of our communities, but their emissions are also driving the climate crisis. To continue to thrive, society needs net zero buildings. This means not only designing and constructing new net zero buildings, but rethinking retrofit to prepare our existing buildings for a low-carbon future. These are the challenges we’re helping developers, contractors, architects and local government tackle today.

It's time to prepare for change. People are demanding healthy places to live and work, legislation will become stricter and property investors will see the returns on green investments. Choosing net zero will future proof your projects so that your designs, construction and building performance will lead to a prosperous and sustainable future for you and the communities you serve.

Why invest in net zero designs?

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Let’s think net zero, challenge the status quo and collaborate on this journey to create net zero buildings that stand the test of time and protect our people and planet.

To help you on your journey we have committed to halving the carbon footprint of our designs and advice by 2030 and will deliver net zero emissions in our own operations by 2025.

If you would like to find out more, send us an email to organise a chat with our net zero specialists

David Leversha

Director and Net Zero Carbon Lead for Property and Buildings

Associate Director and Net Zero Carbon Lead for Property and Buildings

Senior Engineer and Net Zero Carbon Lead for Property and Buildings

Diego Padilla Philipps

Shane Orme

The net zero mindset

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rethink offsite
22bishopsgat
passivhaus schol
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Contact us

Public Commitments

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Net zero buildings:
the challenge in numbers

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is the UK’s deadline for reaching net zero

2050

Here are some ideas and approaches we are currently using to help get you on the road to net zero.

40%

80%

of carbon emissions come from buildings

of the buildings we need in 2050 already exist or are in planning

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a net zero future

Together let's create sustainable net zero carbon buildings
for a better, healthier future

Buildings are the foundation of our communities, but their emissions are also driving the climate crisis. To continue to thrive, society needs net zero buildings. This means not only designing and constructing new net zero buildings, but rethinking retrofit to prepare our existing buildings for a low-carbon future. These are the challenges we’re helping developers, contractors, architects and local government tackle today.

Net zero buildings:
the challenge in numbers

image_1.png (copy1)

2050

is the UK’s deadline for reaching net zero

40%

of carbon emissions come from buildings

80%

of the buildings we need in 2050 already exist or are in planning

Why invest in net zero designs?

save-earth.png

It's time to prepare for change. People are demanding healthy places to live and work, legislation will become stricter and property investors will see the returns on green investments. Choosing net zero will future proof your projects so that your designs, construction and building performance will lead to a prosperous and sustainable future for you and the communities you serve.

The net zero mindset

image_1.png (copy)

Let’s think net zero, challenge the status quo and collaborate on this journey to create net zero buildings that stand the test of time and protect our people and planet.

To help you on your journey we have committed to halving the carbon footprint of our designs and advice by 2030 and will deliver net zero emissions in our own operations by 2025.

What is a net zero 
carbon building?

scale.png

Reduced carbon
emissions

Renewable energy and carbon offset

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arrow-down.png (copy)

A net zero carbon building is simply a building that in construction and operation has no net carbon emissions. Carbon emissions are reduced as much as possible and any residual carbon emissions are balanced by renewable energy or carbon offsets.

Here are the three main categories that will be assessed to evaluate the operational and embodied carbon emissions of a building.

Net zero in operation

For the operational carbon emissions of a building to be zero, it must be highly energy efficient and powered by renewable energy either on or off-site, with any remaining annual carbon emissions offset.

Net zero in construction

For a building to be net zero in construction, the carbon emissions associated with the building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion, needs to be offset through the net export of onsite renewable energy or by offsetting the emissions.

Net zero in whole life carbon

A truly net zero building must achieve net zero in whole life carbon, this means that the building operation and embodied carbon over its lifetime, including its disposal, are zero or negative.

What are the implications?

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Developing efficient net zero carbon buildings will have a range of implications for the construction industry, including:

  1. A shift towards the use of sustainable timber and less use of structural steel and concrete
  2. A shift in the regulatory and planning requirements away from only considering buildings regulated energy and towards total building or EIU limits.
  3. The introduction of regulatory and planning embodied carbon building construction and material limits
  4. A revised paradigm in “carbon thinking” as embodied carbon is anywhere between 30% to 70% of a buildings’ total carbon emissions
  5. An increase in re-purposing of existing buildings rather than demolition
  6. Less excavation and basement construction
  7. Reduced window/façade ratios while more of the window area will open
  8. Electricity as the primary fuel of choice
  9. Heat pumps as the technology of choice for building heating, hot water generation and cooling
  10. A significant increase in Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) for sourcing and ensuring the supply of 100% renewable energy for buildings

Our approach to net zero

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Measuring your building’s carbon footprint

To give you complete transparency of your building’s carbon footprint at every design stage, we are developing a tool to calculate whole life carbon emissions of a project. This tool will enable quick assessment of your building’s carbon footprint and provide an understanding of how much carbon will be produced over a building’s lifetime, based on the average 60 years.

Net zero research

Sharing knowledge and research is the only way we can learn and adapt our designs to go net zero. By analysing our designs, projects and collaborating with clients we are developing the net zero carbon design guidance, so we can make the necessary change to our designs effectively across all market sectors.

Net zero performance benchmarks

We are working towards the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) design targets which define how a 2030 net zero building should perform, these include:

  • Operational Energy (kWh/m2)
    - Energy Use Intensity Benchmark
  • Embodied Carbon (kgCO2e/m2)
    - Whole Life Embodied Carbon Target

More information can be found on the LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide.

Net zero thinking and projects

Here are some ideas and approaches we are currently using to help get you on the road to net zero.

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A hybrid approach to mass timber

When used in the right way, mass timber can be used to reduce carbon and construction time without compromising on design

Rethink Retrofit

Reducing emissions from buildings is critical to the UK achieving a net zero future. With over 80% of the buildings needed for 2050 already built, we explored the need to shift our thinking to reuse

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Rethink Offsite

Offsite construction will play a key role in helping us reduce carbon and our environmental impact. Not only does it reduce onsite disruption and waste, but it can deliver a more sustainable structure across its entire lifecycle

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22 Bishopsgate

How did we put the tallest building in the City of London on the road to net zero?

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Passivhaus schools

Passivhaus is the world’s most rigorous energy and comfort standards. Using this design type we lowered the energy bills by 80% compared to conventional school buildings

Contact us

If you would like to find out more, send us an email to organise a chat with our net zero specialists

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David Leversha

Director and Net Zero Carbon Lead for Property and Buildings

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Diego Padilla Philipps

Senior Engineer and Net Zero Carbon Lead for Property and Buildings

Associate Director and Net Zero Carbon Lead for Property and Buildings

Shane Orme

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Public Commitments

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