International organisations agree a tool called 'common carbon metric' for measuring carbon footprints

A common global language for measuring the carbon footprint of buildings is to be piloted by the organisations behind the world’s leading green building rating tools.

BREEAM - which is owned and run by BRE – and its US and Australian equivalents LEED and Goldstar, will be trialling the ‘common carbon metric’ in the coming months for measuring the emissions of CO2 equivalents from new homes and buildings. The aim is to align the tools and provide consistency in measurement and reporting in the future.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “Just weeks before the crucial climate talks in Copenhagen, we have reached a landmark agreement - to begin to speak one international language to describe the carbon footprint of buildings, in a robust and consistent way.

"The coming together of the world’s leading rating tools and other organisations that represent the best scientific and technical minds and advocates of green, low carbon buildings from around the globe, is a real and timely breakthrough.”

Buildings account for around 40% of the world’s energy use and 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said tackling emissions from building provides the most cost effective carbon reduction potential.

The metric is recognised by the UNEP Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative – the partnership between the UN and building sector stakeholders - and will be highlighted before decision-makers at the conference in Copenhagen in December.