From residential to commercial buildings, the UK’s built environment is responsible for 25% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are emitted at every stage of the construction and use cycle, from the manufacture of materials through construction and maintenance to eventual demolition. Emissions from the built environment must be reduced if the UK is to meet net zero by 2050. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) warns that to date there has been a lack of Government impetus or policy levers to assess and reduce these emissions. With climate deadlines looming, urgent action is needed.
Webb Yates Engineers welcome the latest House of Commons Committee report from the Environmental Audit Committee – Building to net zero: costing carbon in construction - recommending that all buildings should undertake mandatory whole-life carbon assessment as well as tightening limits on carbon (including embodied carbon).
We have been advocating the introduction of statutory limits on embodied carbon in buildings for many years which would promote sensitive building reuse, efficient design and use of low embodied carbon materials.
This is truly a step in the right direction and we hope that the recommendations can be implemented quickly to help bring the UK in line with some of our European neighbours, achieve the carbon reductions required to meet net zero by 2050 and give developers and designers more than just a moral obligation to reduce carbon emissions due to building construction.