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Construction sector sets out framework to measure journey to net zero

Published August 10, 2021

Construction sector sets out framework to measure journey to net zero

Construction leaders have published a framework setting out targets for the industry to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero.

For the first time, the Construction Leadership Council has set out commitments for reduction of carbon emissions at a sector level. The framework also contains metrics to measure progress.

Measures include tracking the number of domestic retrofits achieved, changes in the amount of non-diesel plant in use, and reductions in the amount of energy used to produce key products.

“If the sector as whole introduces this framework, it will put an incentive in the supply chain,” said Matthew Roberts, sustainability consultant at Alfa Energy. “At the moment construction companies can be asked to include low carbon instructions in their projects. Generally, if a company offers a low carbon alternative, it will be more expensive for the developer. But if they whole sector moves in the direction set out in the framework, this will level the playing field. If low carbon considerations become a requirement to be allowed to bid, that will provide a further commercial incentive. The industry is not going to change its attitude to margins, but the rules of the game are shifting.”

The main framework commitments are:

• Work to retrofitting 27 million homes by 2040
• 78% of diesel plants to be eliminated from construction sites by 2035
• By 2035, reduce construction product emissions by 66% from 2018
• From 2025, all new buildings will be designed with low carbon heating solutions
• From 2025, the sector will deliver new homes and buildings which will minimise energy demand and reduce emissions in operation by 75% (dwellings) and at least 27% (commercial buildings) compared to current standards
• From 2025, planning applications from the sector must connect to public/ active transport and include EV charging where parking is provided
• Every person buying from the sector (business or member of the public) will be provided with carbon data by 2030 to make informed lower carbon choices
• From 2022, all construction clients will get the chance to become net zero through alternative net ero design options
• Target 1,500 of the sector’s businesses and clients to sign up to a measurable carbon reduction plan (including Race to Zero, Science based Targets or Climate Hub) by 2025

The framework was developed with the help of more than 2,500 comments from industry.