UKGBC releases energy performance targets for offices targeting net zero

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published new energy performance targets for commercial offices that are aiming to achieve net zero carbon in operation

January 15, 2020

Following direct engagement with industry and analysis of the projected zero carbon energy capacity of the UK, UKGBC is recommending that the offices sector should reduce energy demand by an average of 60% by 2050 to help the UK achieve net zero.

The targets were developed as an addition to UKGBC’s landmark 2019 report ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings: A Framework Definition’, which sets out guidance for buildings seeking to achieve net zero for construction and operational energy. They have been developed in collaboration with Verco, BBP and BPF, with support from Arup, Carbon Credentials, JLL UK and TfL.


The new energy targets represent more stretching requirements for commercial offices claiming net zero in operation and set out a trajectory of tightening energy performance requirements over the next fifteen years. Offices seeking zero carbon for operational energy should first meet the energy performance targets, then meet demand as far as possible through renewable energy and finally offset any remaining carbon. This data should then be independently verified and publicly disclosed on an annual basis to demonstrate how the net zero balance has been achieved.

The work has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Advancing Net Zero programme lead partner: Redevco Foundation; and programme partners: BAM, Berkeley Group, Grosvenor, JLL and Hoare Lea.

Richard Twinn, Senior Policy Advisor at UKGBC said: “At the start of the decade of action, the most important action that the building sector can take is to drive down energy demand. This will be crucial to decarbonising our energy systems in the most cost-effective way, and ensuring that buildings only use their ‘fair share’ of zero carbon energy in a net zero economy.

“The net zero carbon buildings framework was introduced to bring consistency about what net zero carbon means in practice. The industry is already starting to use the framework to meet net zero, but these targets will begin to raise the bar for offices, placing much greater emphasis on energy efficiency before renewable energy and offsets. They will challenge the offices sector and show the way towards buildings that are truly fit for 2050.”

Details of the energy performance targets are set out in a short paper published today. It includes a trajectory of targets starting from current best practice with tightening targets every five years up to 2035. By this date, all offices aiming to be net zero should be operating at the energy performance standards that will be needed by 2050. To allow for flexibility, the targets are expressed in kwh/m2 alongside equivalent DECs and NABERS ratings.

Andy Mercer, director and head of energy services at JLL, said: “It’s an exciting time to be part of UK’s transition to a low carbon future. The UKGBC’s research-based 60% target confirms what is already well understood; that most buildings, new and old, have a significant performance gap. Yet we already have all the technology, tools and know-how needed to meet and exceed the Paris Proof target today. To enable the transition to zero carbon workplaces, energy efficiency must be embedded into key decisions throughout an asset’s lifecycle – design, build, operation and refurbishment. At JLL we are proud to be working with some of the UK’s most forward-thinking landlords, investors and occupiers on our mutual journeys to net zero.”

The energy performance targets have been developed in collaboration with: Better Building Partnerships (BPP), British Property Federation (BPF), Verco; and supported by: Arup, Carbon Credentials, JLL UK and TfL. 

About JLL

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