To deliver net zero office buildings within conventional cost parameters do we need to be bolder in our approach?
The flurry of corporate net zero announcements around COP26 showed change is accelerating in commercial markets. There is evidence that sustainable buildings already demand a market premium, and as corporations (producers and users of real estate alike) seek a property portfolio aligned with their company commitments, this differential seems set to grow.
This trend is being reinforced by an investor market that is placing ever more importance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and carbon performance. The market’s ability to define, measure and deliver net zero buildings reliably and cost-effectively will be vital.
A UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) study in September 2020 pointed to a cost premium of between 8% and 17% to deliver a building aligned with net zero performance. With aspirations towards net zero carbon featuring in many more project briefs, we are all striving to stretch the performance of development projects towards that net zero carbon goal. It is a mark of how rapidly our response to this challenge is evolving that in December 2021 we are able to demonstrate that net zero is achievable for a typical mid-rise commercial asset at a relatively small cost premium.
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