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To help achieve the UK’s net zero target, UKGBC is leading the transition to a net zero carbon built environment. UKGBC launched its Advancing Net Zero programme in 2018 to help drive this transition in the UK and deliver the emissions reductions required from the construction and property sectors.

Check out our Case Study Library to find net zero buildings in the UK.

Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition – UKGBC has developed a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings to provide the industry with clarity on how to achieve net zero carbon in construction and operation.

Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework Definition:

  1. A net zero operational energy carbon balance should be verified and disclosed annually. The energy scope for demonstrating net zero carbon is flexible to enable the decarbonisation of buildings at scale, including for tenancies, multi-building developments, and portfolios. 
  2. Energy use reductions should be prioritised over all other measures, given it is the most cost-effective route for buildings and minimises the infrastructure required for a future zero carbon energy system. ‘Paris proof’ energy use intensity targets will be included in the future.
  3. On-site renewables should be prioritised, and any off-site renewables should demonstrate additionality. Offsets should be used for any remaining carbon balance, using a recognised offsetting framework. 
  4. Net zero carbon for construction can also be targeted alongside the approach for operational energy. A net zero whole life carbon approach covering all lifecycle impacts will be developed in the future

Supplementary guidance has been provided since the release of the framework in 2019 to be used in conjunction with the original framework.

Methodology and Verification

UKGBC is currently undertaking work on verification. To address the gap in the market, UKGBC in collaboration with other key industry stakeholders conducted market analysis to understand the drivers for and characteristics of a potential verification scheme for net zero carbon buildings. The conclusions indicated a clear market need for a robust, accessible, and transparent verification process as soon as possible. 

Upcoming 2022/23 – UKGB is collaborating with industry bodies to respond to the findings of the market analysis, including planning the potential development of an industry-led Net Zero Carbon Buildings Verification Standard – against which built assets could be robustly verified as net zero carbon.


Course Mail is on-demand learning, accessible on-the-move or at your desk. You and your colleagues can receive bite-sized learning in easy-to-read emails direct to your inbox on key topics surrounding sustainability and the built environment. These are designed to provide entry-level knowledge on sustainability that can be shared throughout organisations.

Find out more about UKGBC educational resources.

In November 2021, UKGBC published Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment, a common vision and agreed actions for achieving net zero carbon in the construction, operation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure.UKGBC have launched the Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, a common vision and agreed actions for achieving net zero carbon in the construction, operation and demolition of buildings and infrastructure.

UKGBC Solutions Library

UKGBC’sSolutions Library is designed to address shared sustainability challenges within the property and construction sector and enhance collaboration between innovators and corporates.

Find out more about the Solutions Library.