Is zero really zero?

Are zero energy buildings really zero? – RICS at the EU Sustainable Energy Europe Week (EUSEW)
published by RICS on Tuesday 12 Jun 2012

RICS stresses the importance of developing a methodology for measuring embodied carbon in Europe’s buildings and presents the final draft of its information paper on whole life carbon calculation, at a conference organised in the framework of the sixth edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Europe Week (Thursday 21 June 2012).

As the EU drives the requirement for low-energy, nearly zero energy and carbon buildings, the role of embodied carbon becomes increasingly significant.

With the conference entitled ‘Are zero energy buildings really zero: from operational efficiency to embodied energy and carbon’, RICS aims at raising awareness and providing the latest knowledge, experience and thinking on whole life carbon by:

  • Presenting the drivers, opportunities and emerging standards in carbon management
  • Discussing the benefits of new build versus refurbishment, and whether the installed energy efficiency or renewable technologies generate real ‘net’ benefits once the embodied carbon used to make them is factored in.
  • Improving the understanding of how the embodied energy needs to be brought into the design decisions made in developing projects in order to ensure that operational efficiency is not prioritised over embodied energy which could lead to a reduced design life and increased embodied energy as the buildings are replaced more frequently.
  • Highlighting the need for improved cross-professional dialogue and collaboration with industry and all players across the building chain which has to take part in the carbon mitigation strategy.

At the conference, RICS will present the first draft of its guidance note on whole life carbon calculation*, which details an approach to early stage carbon accounting. This note has been developed over the last two years with the involvement of industry and research universities.