Ahead of COP26, the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) updates its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to include bold new requirements for addressing embodied emissions and publishes best practice for carbon offsetting for the built environment.

LONDON – 9am BST, 15 September 2021 – Today, WorldGBC announces an update to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the Commitment), expanding its scope to recognise enhanced leadership action in tackling embodied carbon emissions from the building and construction sector. To accompany the Commitment update and its reduction-first approach to decarbonisation, WorldGBC has also published Advancing Net Zero Whole Life Carbon: Offsetting Residual Emissions from the Building and Construction Sector, providing guidance for how the sector should compensate for its total carbon impacts.

The built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions, with 10% from embodied carbon from materials and construction processes.

To limit warming to no more than 1.5°C as set out in the Paris Agreement, the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition has called for emissions from buildings globally to be halved by 2030, and to reach net zero life-cycle emissions for all buildings by no later than 2050.

As part of the efforts to accelerate these goals, WorldGBC announces an update to its Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to promote and inspire leadership action towards addressing embodied carbon as well as emissions from building operations.

New requirements for the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

In addition to the Commitment requiring all building assets within direct control to account for all operational carbon emissions (released from the energy used to heat, light, cool and power them) by 2030, from 1st January 2023 businesses and organisations will also be required to:

  • Account for whole lifecycle impact of all new buildings and major renovations by mandating they are built to be highly efficient, powered by renewables, with maximum reductions in embodied carbon and compensation of all residual upfront emissions.
  • Track and report business activities that influence the indirect reduction of whole life carbon emissions.

This ambitious step is expected to drive similar levels of action from the sector as reported in the recently released Advancing Net Zero Status Report 2021, which highlights how signatories are embedding the Commitment requirements into their business operations, and help the sector advance its decarbonisation goals.

How the Commitment drives decarbonisation with a reduction-first approach

WorldGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Vision for the sector includes a roadmap for the decarbonisation of the built environment, with critical 2030 interim goals and total decarbonisation by 2050. It is outcomes based and action focused, requiring signatories to develop a bespoke roadmap to decarbonise their portfolios by following best practice principles prioritising reduction of energy consumption and embodied carbon, and the use of renewable energy.

This leadership action of Commitment signatories, reinforced with the additional focus on maximum reductions of embodied carbon, means that all new developments and renovations will also prioritise the efficient use of low carbon materials and construction processes, reduce reliance on fossil fuels in construction, and support the transition to a fully decarbonised built environment.

The Commitment promotes aggressive reduction-first strategies, with residual emissions being compensated for via best practice offsets. Until reductions in fossil fuel consumption and emissions become business as usual as part of energy systems and supply chain production processes, there will be some reliance on offsets in order to achieve the balance of net zero emissions. However, through the leadership of Commitment signatories driving demand for low carbon materials and practices, this is expected to reduce over time.

The critical need for best practice carbon offsetting that drives positive systemic change in the built environment

To encourage a best practice approach to decarbonisation, and facilitate net positive impact in pursuit of net zero emissions, WorldGBC has published a guidance document for the sector — Advancing Net Zero Whole Life Carbon: Offsetting Residual Emissions from the Building and Construction Sector. 

As part of the transition towards total sector decarbonisation that also enables tangible environment and social co-benefits in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, the guidance document promotes a best practice-approach to offsetting detailed in three principles:

  1. Prioritise emissions reduction 

Minimise the need for offsets in the first place via best practice sustainable construction and operation. This means reducing energy demand, shifting away from fossil fuels, and using 100% renewable energy as soon as possible.

  1. Compensate for residual emissions 

For any residual emissions – those which cannot be abated – invest in carbon reduction or storage projects that are credible, unique, additional and permanent, as determined via independent third party verification.

  1. Advance tangible benefits 

Direct investment into offsets that store carbon and provide additional tangible environmental and/or social improvements, particularly those that have additional nature-based co-benefits or co-benefits in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this approach, WorldGBC encourages the building and construction sector to explore short-term opportunities to support the overall decarbonisation agenda via investment in efforts that enable others to advance their journey to net zero, such as through energy efficiency improvements or establishing access to renewable energy sources. Whilst these sector-based offset projects and non credit based actions are currently under developed, WorldGBC calls on the sector to recognise how this approach is critical to achieving sector decarbonisation goals.

 Why the built environment must tackle embodied carbon now

Globally, 10% of carbon emissions comes from the materials and construction processes required to build and renovate buildings, also known as embodied carbon. However, it is estimated that between 2020 and 2050, more than half of total carbon emissions from all new global construction will be due to embodied carbon.

As carbon emissions from the energy used to heat, cool, light and power buildings are reduced through improved energy efficiency and renewable energy, the impact of embodied carbon becomes more significant than ever. This bold approach to accelerate total sector decarbonisation, introduced by the update to the Commitment, is required from the sector to account for these impacts.

Halving emissions by 2030 to achieve a 1.5oC Paris Agreement aligned future

With COP26 and the #BuildingToCOP26 Coalition spotlighting the built environment as a critical solution through the UN’s Race to Zero campaign and the Cities, Regions and Built Environment Day, this sector initiative is crucial in the wider advocacy efforts, calling on bolder and more ambitious building regulation to bring these solutions to scale.

The UN backed Race to Zero campaign is mobilising the shift towards a net zero carbon economy to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Recognising the crucial role of the built environment in achieving this goal, our industry must ensure that by 2030 all new buildings, infrastructure and renovations will have at least 40% less embodied carbon with significant upfront carbon reduction, and all new buildings must be net zero operational carbon. The 2030 goal is an important milestone leading to 2050, where all new and existing buildings must be totally decarbonised. This requires an unprecedented shift in the way buildings are designed, built, renovated and re-used, in order to stay within remaining carbon budgets for a below 1.5oC Paris Agreement aligned future.

Aligned with the Race to Zero emissions breakthroughs, the Commitment enables signatories to take action further faster, towards their 2030 decarbonisation goals, whilst also stimulating the mainstreaming of critical and innovative approaches, solutions and business models necessary for the sector to reach climate goals by 2050.

Find out more at https://buildingtocop.org/

 Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council:

“The update to the WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment elevates the ambition for the building and construction sector to go further and faster to decarbonise. It sets a target for compensating for emissions associated with buildings and construction, and the tangible social and environmental co-benefits of this approach creates a powerful catalyst towards achieving the Paris Agreement goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving our vision of sustainable buildings for everyone, everywhere means acting now to tackle upfront carbon, whilst planning with whole life carbon in mind.”

 Nigel Topping, COP26 High Level Climate Action Champion:

“With the buildings sector accounting for 40% of global emissions and 50% of resource consumption, the need for urgent action is critical. WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment provides a bold approach for businesses looking to be a front runner in decarbonising emissions from buildings by 2030.”

 Ed Mazria, Founder & CEO, Architecture2030:

“The science and global carbon budget for limiting warming to 1.5°C are clear. The time to act is now. With the WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment including both embodied and operational carbon, the organisations, firms and subnational governments responsible for planning, designing, constructing and developing the global built environment can demonstrate their specific actions that meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC budget. By showing what is possible, our community will embolden others to do the same.”

 Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Science Based Targets initiative:

“Bold action is vital to limit the worst effects of climate breakdown – and that’s why the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment from the WorldGBC is so important. This leadership sets the direction for the building and construction industry. Considering the state of the climate emergency, we are calling on all world leaders, businesses and individuals to take urgent action to decarbonise the built environment at the pace and scale required by science.”

 

The Commitment in numbers

The Commitment now has a total of 143 signatories, with 109 businesses and organisations; 28 cities; and 6 states and regions. The businesses and organisations signed up to the Commitment account for over 5.3 million (tCO2e) of portfolio emissions, and are already taking significant steps to decarbonise their portfolio operations. Find out more about our Commitment signatories here.

 

British Entrepreneurs CTO Matt Denton and CEO Antony Quinn of Maverick Aviation

(Photo credit: University of Southampton Science Park)

 

WORLD’S FIRST HANDS-FREE JETPACK PROTOTYPE REVEALED 

 

These are the first images ever released of Maverick Aviation’s prototype, which promises to transform the way challenging maintenance, inspections and rescues are carried out worldwide.

The jetpack is the brainchild of Hollywood animatronics expert Matt Denton and Royal Navy Commander Antony Quinn.

It uses a unique Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) system and is designed to be operated hands-free, allowing people to make safer flights, and precision landings on structures that are difficult to access — from wind turbines to military hardware, buildings and construction projects.

The Maverick Jetpack can be reconfigured as a heavy-lift drone capable of being operated remotely and carrying ten times the payload of current similarly sized systems on the market — easily enough to lift a casualty like a stricken climber to safety.

Other use cases include search & rescue, leisure, disaster relief, security and policing. The company, based at the Fareham Innovation Centre at Solent Airport, near Southampton, estimates the potential market for security, defence and rescue uses alone is worth in excess of £700m.

Helicopters are currently used to carry out much of this work, but Maverick’s Jetpack is far smaller, uses sustainable fuel, and can slash costs. It threatens to take market share in the global lift market, which Maverick says is worth approximately £52bn a year.

The jetpack is unusually light because Maverick exploited advanced manufacturing techniques like 3D printing and materials including aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre. It will travel at between 10mph and 30mph depending on the task.

The control system is extremely intuitive and the operator can switch on an in-built autopilot so they can multi-task while in flight if necessary. Early work on the control system software was funded by a £97,000 grant from Innovate UK, secured by Maverick’s grant partner Catax. This money also helped pay for patent applications and the creation of a concept demonstrator. The team has since received much more funding, including grants and business mentorship from the University of Southampton Science Park.

The first manned test flight is scheduled for next summer and the company is about to start seeking further investment to take the jetpack to market.

Co-founder Matt Denton is also Maverick’s CTO. He’s well regarded for his work on animatronics and control systems, having worked on numerous Star Wars movies that saw him develop the BB-8 droid from 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also worked on Jurassic World and Harry Potter movies, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire.

Antony Quinn, CEO and co-founder of Maverick Aviation, commented: 

“The jetpack uses the same sort of jet engines that you see on a passenger plane, only ours are the size of a rugby ball.

“What is unique about what we’re doing is the computer-controlled autopilot system that makes flying effortless and easy to control with precision. That’s how we have changed jetpacks from exciting to useful.

“It’s so intuitive to fly that the cost of training is going to be low, so you’re going to have all sorts of professionals suddenly able to work in the most inaccessible environments safely and quickly.

“I realised that the growing onshore and offshore wind industry really needed a solution like this. Their engineers climb up ladders inside these structures for hours each day and, in an emergency situation, it’s almost impossible to get down quickly. Drones can be useful for inspections, but in many circumstances you need to get an engineer up there.

“During tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, the number of possible use cases just kept on mounting and I realised how big the opportunity was. The potential is almost endless.

“Before, people would have used a £30m helicopter to perform some simple tasks, we can offer a more tailored solution at a fraction of the cost.”

 

Karen Taylor, Group Head of Grants at Catax, said: 

“What Antony and Matt are doing is the stuff of dreams. When we think of jetpacks, plenty of Hollywood scripts come to mind but this is the first time such a versatile piece of equipment is being created with business use cases at the forefront.

“They’ve achieved an incredible amount so far, and it’s fantastic that a British company is leading the way on such an important, game-changing piece of technology.”

Maverick Jet Pack

 

 

CarbonStore will address environmental and sustainability specialists and analysts on ‘Why Woodland Creation Should Be Part of a Carbon Reduction Strategy and the race for net-zero’ at a dedicated webinar on 21 September at 10.00 am.

 

CarbonStore provides an open and transparent platform for companies and landowners to buy and sell woodland Carbon Units while helping companies maximise the benefits associated with UK woodlands and restoring peatlands.

The webinar will address the following topics:

Is there a market for quality carbon credits?

What are the pitfalls of carbon offset programs and how to avoid them?

What are the wider benefits of buying Woodland Carbon Units?

How can CarbonStore help analysts and sustainability managers achieve net zero while maximising the many virtues of planting trees?

During the webinar Dr Michael Fagbohungbe, CarbonStore’s Carbon Manager will answer these questions and many more. Michael, holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and has worked in the fields of renewable energy and resource management. Michael has a combined 7 years of experience in low-carbon technology development, ESG framework implementation, and carbon management in agriculture, processing, and distribution. He will be discussing the pitfalls of some types of carbon offset programs. He will also dig deeper into the authenticity and traceability of carbon offsets and the importance of using the UK Woodland Carbon Code.

David McCulloch, Head of CarbonStore, who has a BSc (Hons) in Accounting, Finance and Economics and 18 years’ experience in the financial sector based in London and Tokyo, initially as an equity salesman and latterly as a corporate analyst will explain the practicalities of purchasing woodland carbon units authorised and issued by the Woodland Carbon Code through CarbonStore.

He will present the unique advantages of working with CarbonStore to realise an organisation’s net zero ambitions before concluding with a case study to illustrate how CarbonStore can deliver woodland creation projects which protect our environment, enhance our ecology and enrich our society.

The webinar will include a Q&A session featuring two further panelists including Stuart Pearson, Tilhill’s Business Development Manager and chartered forester and CarbonStore’s Carbon Project Manager Alex MacKinnon, BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and former Forest Manager with a broad understanding of the Woodland Carbon Code and its fundamental principles.

Alex works on the technical side of CarbonStore working directly with managers and clients to efficiently register, validate and verify projects. He also works with incoming purchasers to identify and assess potential project carbon units that suit their preferences.

David McCulloch, gave his thoughts on the forthcoming webinar: “Within a net-zero strategy, there will be some Carbon reduction challenges that are simply too difficult to achieve quickly. In many cases, the technology has not developed sufficiently to enable those changes to be made today, so offsetting should relate to the portion of a reduction strategy that cannot be changed quickly or is outside of your control.

“This webinar will focus on why woodland creation should be a fundamental part of residual carbon offset plans because trees are the ONLY option that actually removes carbon from the environment.”

The free webinar will take place September 21st at 10am-11:am on Zoom.

Flagship AirMaster Smart Mechanical Ventilation Awarded Passivhaus Component Certification

 

SAV Systems is proud to announce that the AirMaster AM 1000 has been awarded Passivhaus Component certification in conjunction with their Danish partner, Airmaster A/S. The flagship AM 1000 is the first decentralised, duct free, mechanical ventilation unit with heat recovery (MVHR) on the market to be awarded the certification. This enables the AirMaster AM 1000 to be used in Passivhaus school buildings.

Our time working with the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) inspired SAV Systems to undertake Passivhaus certification. CEC has set ambitious targets to achieve Net Zero by 2035, leading the council to apply passive house design principles to all their new schools. The core philosophy of passive house design is to create a comfortable and energy efficient building with minimal energy wastage. Alongside the need for improved energy efficiency, Passivhaus also offers the opportunity to create more comfortable learning environments for students, combatting the Scottish climate.

Ventilation plays a crucial part in two requirements of passive house standards: air tightness and space heating demand. Openings in buildings, such as windows and porous building materials can allow heat to escape, wasting the energy generated by the building. Consequently, Passivhaus buildings have high airtightness and low heat loss. However, in increasing the airtightness of a building to conserve energy, indoor air quality can suffer. Therefore, a mechanical ventilation solution is required to manage indoor air quality without wasting energy.

Adopting AirMaster as a school’s ventilation strategy is an effective choice for designing comfortable classrooms. Due to the decentralised design of AirMasters, the units can be installed easily in a range of different classrooms, making use of duct free air distribution. A typical classroom installation requires one AirMaster AM 1000 per room with intake and exhaust connection to outside. The AM 1000 can recover up to 90% of the room’s heat using an aluminium heat exchanger, reducing the building’s heat load and heat loss.

The certification of the AM 1000 makes available an innovative ventilation strategy that can improve indoor air quality without sacrificing thermal comfort. Not only is this certification exciting for SAV Systems, but it is also exciting for decentralised mechanical MVHR as a ventilation strategy. With growing pressure on buildings to become energy efficient and comfortable, decentralised MVHR like AirMaster should play a vital role in the solution.