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Sat July 31 2021

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Industry constructs plan to measure net zero progress

21 Jul The Construction Leadership Council has begun measuring the construction industry’s efforts to reduce embedded carbon in the built environment.

The Construct Zero Performance Framework has been developed to provide the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) with ‘a sector level dashboard’ on progress towards net zero.

The aim is to ‘motivate’ construction companies to take action and to demonstrate the industry’s progress.

The framework sets out headline commitments for carbon reduction, along with a series of measures and metrics to show how progress is being made. The development of the framework draws on work undertaken across the sector by specialist groups and representative bodies

Headline commitments include 78% of diesel machinery to be eliminated from construction sites by 2035, retrofitting 27 million fossil-fuelled homes by 2040 and reducing the amount of energy used to produce building products and materials.

Since the government amended the Climate Change Act in 2019 to commit the UK to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the construction industry has been confronted with the need to decarbonise.

The Construct Zero Performance Framework has resulted from consultation with industry, with more than 2,500 comments received. However, it is described as ‘the start of a conversation’, designed to be refined and iterated over time to align with industry and workforce changes.

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The headline commitments are:

  • 78% of diesel plants to be eliminated from construction sites by 2035
  • Close the productivity gap between construction and economy average output per worker by 2035
  • From 2025, planning applications from the sector must connect to public/ active transport and include EV charging where parking is provided
  • Working with government to deliver retrofitting to 27 million homes by 2040
  • From 2025, all new buildings will be designed with low carbon heating systems
  • From 2025, all new homes and buildings will minimise energy demand and reduce emissions in operation by 75% (dwellings) and at least 27% (commercial buildings) compared to 2021 standards
  • 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 clients will be offered alternative Net Zero design options
  • By 2035 construction product emissions to be reduce by 66% from 2018
  • 1,500 construction industry businesses and clients to sign up to a measurable carbon reduction plan (including Race to Zero, Science-based Targets or Climate Hub) by 2025.

Beneath each of these headline commitments is a series of metrics termed ‘measures of success’. These will be used by the CLC to track and report progress.

Data will be gathered on a quarterly basis and published on the CLC’s Construct Zero website as an industry carbon ‘dashboard’. The first update is scheduled for autumn 2021.

Construction minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who co-chairs the CLC, said: “The Performance Framework provides government and industry with a sector-level dashboard on progress towards net zero, aimed at enabling businesses to action progress and encouraging those outside the sector to take the key steps on the broader journey to net zero. It’s important that the sector holds itself to account for the commitments it has made; the Performance Framework will enable the industry to do this, reporting progress on a quarterly basis, building on existing publicly available data”

The other CLC co-chair, Andy Mitchell, said: “We are seeing huge demand from across the sector to push forward towards net zero, and this has been reflected in the level of consultation feedback we received when we tested these metrics with industry. We can have confidence that these measures will help guide us towards a lower carbon future, and I look forward to seeing progress”.

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