What is Net Zero?

The World Green Building Council, and the Green Building Councils participating in the Advancing Net Zero project (project steering committee), are dedicated to supporting market transformation towards 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050. Our new infographic highlights our framework including key target dates, definition for net zero carbon buildings, the action pathways being taken by our GBCs, and the key principles that are guiding their actions. These principles ensure alignment and commonality across global markets, whilst enabling specific market applications.

WorldGBC recognises that in most situations, net zero energy buildings, i.e. buildings that generate 100% of their energy needs on-site, are not feasible. Therefore, buildings that are energy efficient, and supply energy needs from renewable sources (on-site and/or off-site) is a more appropriate target for the mass scale required to achieve Paris Agreement levels of global emission reductions.

We believe that this enormous challenge will be achieved through the coordinated efforts of Business, Government, and NGOs; and our Green Building Councils are leading the way. 

The WorldGBC definition of a net zero carbon building is a building that is highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources.

 

 

Find out more in our Call to Action Report, From Thousands to Billions – Coordinated Action Towards Achieving 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings by 2050.

 

Participating Green Building Council action

In November 2016, HQE Alliance, the Green Building Council in France, launched a voluntary labelling system E+C- Bâtiment à Énergie Positive et Réduction Carbone in conjunction with the Government, to ensure construction sector is part of the strategy to meet the challenge of climate change. The first seven labels were delivered to successful projects in July 2017, the highest performing being Le Themis d’Icade and La résidence Alizari à Malaunay.

 

In May 2017, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) was the first GBC to launch a dedicated Zero Carbon Building Standard, making carbon emissions the key indicator for building performance. developed through extensive consultation with representatives from over 50 industry organizations, utilities, governments and companies across Canada. CaGBC is also working with 16 of Canada’s most sustainable projects in the Zero Carbon Building Pilot Program, which will inform further development of the Standard and accompanying resources and education. 

 

In August 2017, GBC Brasil launched their Zero Energy Standard. A program of 11 pioneering projects will evaluate the standard across five different states, and two projects have already received certification for demonstrating a net zero energy balance for one year of operation: the Sebrae Centre for Sustainability in the city of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, and the Geo Thermal Energy Headquarters in Tamboará, Paraná.

 

The Australian Federal Government launched in October 2017 a National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings and Precincts, developed in close collaboration with Green Building Council Australia. Utilising existing and well established rating schemes Green Star - Performance and NABERS as pathways to demonstrate compliance, the Standard sets rigorous requirements for achieving carbon neutrality by reducing demand from buildings, procuring renewable energy, and purchasing carbon credits to offset remaining emissions.

 

The Green Building Council of South Africa launched its Net Zero certification programme in 2017. This programme will award projects which go beyond the partial reductions recognised in the current GBCSA tools, and which have taken the initiative to reach the endpoint of completely neutralising or positively redressing their impacts. Projects are able to achieve Net Zero or Net Positive ratings for carbon, water, waste and ecology. This recognises buildings that completely neutralise or positively redress their carbon emissions, water consumption, solid waste to landfill and/or negative ecological impacts. Ten projects have achieved certification, for one or more of the issues, in a scheme that recognises the urgency of impacts beyond energy consumption in the race to zero.

 

The USGBC has launched Pathway to Net Zero, a platform providing educational resources to help practitioners position LEED projects towards net zero energy, water and waste; including technical aspects such as energy modelling, and insights from case studies that have achieved this level of performance. Find the prerequisites and credits in LEED v4 New Construction that help make net zero possible, read relevant USGBC articles, and learn about plans for a net zero carbon operations verification for building projects through the Arc platform, coming soon!

 

In May 2018, DGNB published the “framework for carbon neutral buildings“ to establish general rules for carbon accounting (part 1), its disclosure (part 2) as well as a practical method to develop a roadmap to balance carbon emissions (part 3). The DGNB „framework“ is currently being tested with practitioners on real projects and will lead to a refined framework publication in the second half of 2019. This new framework will offer a wide range of possible applications, as it implies an advantageous rating within the DGNB system for existing and new buildings. The DGNB „framework“ thereby offers a reliable basis for decision-makers for the potential of sustainable financing.

 

 

In April 2019, UKGBC launched a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings in the UK. The definition was developed by an industry task group formed of over 40 industry representatives from across the construction industry and supported by 13 trade associations, professional institutions and non-profit organisations. Following extensive industry consultation, the task group set out agreed principles for a net zero carbon building, enabling stakeholders from across the building value chain to work towards achieving an ambitious common goal. The definition aims to provide a consistent approach that can be integrated into voluntary reporting initiatives, building rating tools, planning requirements and, over time, into policy and regulation.

The World Green Building Council, and the Green Building Councils participating in the Advancing Net Zero project (project steering committee), are dedicated to supporting market transformation towards 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050. Our new infographic highlights our framework including key target dates, definition for net zero carbon buildings, the action pathways being taken by our GBCs, and the key principles that are guiding their actions. These principles ensure alignment and commonality across global markets, whilst enabling specific market applications.

WorldGBC recognises that in most situations, net zero energy buildings, i.e. buildings that generate 100% of their energy needs on-site, are not feasible. Therefore, buildings that are energy efficient, and supply energy needs from renewable sources (on-site and/or off-site) is a more appropriate target for the mass scale required to achieve Paris Agreement levels of global emission reductions.

We believe that this enormous challenge will be achieved through the coordinated efforts of Business, Government, and NGOs; and our Green Building Councils are leading the way. 

The WorldGBC definition of a net zero carbon building is a building that is highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources.

 

 

Find out more in our Call to Action Report, From Thousands to Billions – Coordinated Action Towards Achieving 100% Net Zero Carbon Buildings by 2050.

 

Participating Green Building Council action

In November 2016, HQE Alliance, the Green Building Council in France, launched a voluntary labelling system E+C- Bâtiment à Énergie Positive et Réduction Carbone in conjunction with the Government, to ensure construction sector is part of the strategy to meet the challenge of climate change. The first seven labels were delivered to successful projects in July 2017, the highest performing being Le Themis d’Icade and La résidence Alizari à Malaunay.

 

In May 2017, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) was the first GBC to launch a dedicated Zero Carbon Building Standard, making carbon emissions the key indicator for building performance. developed through extensive consultation with representatives from over 50 industry organizations, utilities, governments and companies across Canada. CaGBC is also working with 16 of Canada’s most sustainable projects in the Zero Carbon Building Pilot Program, which will inform further development of the Standard and accompanying resources and education. 

 

In August 2017, GBC Brasil launched their Zero Energy Standard. A program of 11 pioneering projects will evaluate the standard across five different states, and two projects have already received certification for demonstrating a net zero energy balance for one year of operation: the Sebrae Centre for Sustainability in the city of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, and the Geo Thermal Energy Headquarters in Tamboará, Paraná.

 

The Australian Federal Government launched in October 2017 a National Carbon Offset Standard for Buildings and Precincts, developed in close collaboration with Green Building Council Australia. Utilising existing and well established rating schemes Green Star - Performance and NABERS as pathways to demonstrate compliance, the Standard sets rigorous requirements for achieving carbon neutrality by reducing demand from buildings, procuring renewable energy, and purchasing carbon credits to offset remaining emissions.

 

The Green Building Council of South Africa launched its Net Zero certification programme in 2017. This programme will award projects which go beyond the partial reductions recognised in the current GBCSA tools, and which have taken the initiative to reach the endpoint of completely neutralising or positively redressing their impacts. Projects are able to achieve Net Zero or Net Positive ratings for carbon, water, waste and ecology. This recognises buildings that completely neutralise or positively redress their carbon emissions, water consumption, solid waste to landfill and/or negative ecological impacts. Ten projects have achieved certification, for one or more of the issues, in a scheme that recognises the urgency of impacts beyond energy consumption in the race to zero.

 

The USGBC has launched Pathway to Net Zero, a platform providing educational resources to help practitioners position LEED projects towards net zero energy, water and waste; including technical aspects such as energy modelling, and insights from case studies that have achieved this level of performance. Find the prerequisites and credits in LEED v4 New Construction that help make net zero possible, read relevant USGBC articles, and learn about plans for a net zero carbon operations verification for building projects through the Arc platform, coming soon!

 

In May 2018, DGNB published the “framework for carbon neutral buildings“ to establish general rules for carbon accounting (part 1), its disclosure (part 2) as well as a practical method to develop a roadmap to balance carbon emissions (part 3). The DGNB „framework“ is currently being tested with practitioners on real projects and will lead to a refined framework publication in the second half of 2019. This new framework will offer a wide range of possible applications, as it implies an advantageous rating within the DGNB system for existing and new buildings. The DGNB „framework“ thereby offers a reliable basis for decision-makers for the potential of sustainable financing.

 

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In April 2019, UKGBC launched a framework definition for net zero carbon buildings in the UK. The definition was developed by an industry task group formed of over 40 industry representatives from across the construction industry and supported by 13 trade associations, professional institutions and non-profit organisations. Following extensive industry consultation, the task group set out agreed principles for a net zero carbon building, enabling stakeholders from across the building value chain to work towards achieving an ambitious common goal. The definition aims to provide a consistent approach that can be integrated into voluntary reporting initiatives, building rating tools, planning requirements and, over time, into policy and regulation.