Built environment must decarbonise nearly twice as fast by 2025, says UKGBC analysis

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The UK Green Building Council's report on the built environment's progress towards meeting the country's net zero commitments reveals a significant shortfall. Despite a 13% reduction in carbon emissions between 2018 and 2022, it falls short of the required 19% reduction. The industry, a major emitter after surface transport, must now accelerate its decarbonization to meet the set trajectory.

The analysis pinpoints key areas needing faster progress, highlighting the pandemic's impact on emissions. Despite a drop in construction sector output during the pandemic, embodied carbon emissions only decreased by 4%, far below the target. The report also notes the pandemic's influence on energy demand and operational emissions from buildings, emphasizing the need for robust policies and actions.

Smith Mordak, the Chief Executive at UKGBC, underscores the urgency, stating that despite forced reductions during the pandemic, the industry's pace isn't sufficient. The report stresses the crucial role of national policies in achieving the necessary decarbonization, urging government action in home retrofitting, regulatory frameworks for new constructions, and prioritizing climate concerns in planning decisions.

Mordak emphasizes that the timeline for achieving net zero cannot extend, urging swift and collaborative efforts between industry and government. Delaying action only intensifies the challenge and missed opportunities to address environmental and social crises. The call is for decisive action and cooperation to bridge the emissions gap and set a trajectory towards achieving net zero.

Original article posted on December 6, 2024

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