The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and global sustainable development consultancy Arup have released the report “Net-zero buildings: Halving construction emissions today”. It focusses on reducing upfront embodied carbon in construction, which are the emissions released into the atmosphere during the production and transportation of building materials as well as the construction process. 

2030 is todayci 

“We must, and we can halve the emissions in the built environment by 2030. Our new report highlights the importance of radical collaboration across the entire value chain to achieve this goal. We identify practical and holistic measures that can be deployed in any building project around the world now – because 2030 is today,” says Roland Hunziker, director of built environment at the WBCSD. 

Start now 

The report builds on a previous publication, “Net-zero buildings: Where do we stand?”, which showed that as much as 50% of a new, energy-efficient building’s emissions come from embodied carbon. It encourages property developers to act now, showing that they already have the solutions required to start halving upfront embodied carbon emissions immediately. 

Clear actions and key strategies are given to achieve the rapid systemic changes required for the built environment industry to halve carbon emissions by 2030. 

Key recommendations 

  • Data is key and will drive informed calculation, analysis and consistent reporting as an enabler of the highest impact. 
  • Companies must gain the confidence to treat carbon like money, setting clear budgetary targets. 
  • Early well-informed thinking is essential to gain the highest reduction potential. 
  • A systemic approach is required, with collaborative engagement of the entire value chain. 
  • Urgent and decisive action is essential. For the built environment, 2030 is today, as current projects will be finished by 2030. 

The report gives practical ways for building designers, owners and construction firms to use these principles to reduce the carbon in buildings they are creating now. For example, reducing the “span” – the space between columns or supports on the floor of each building – as the engineering solutions required for large “spans” are typically carbon-intensive, or reducing the building height to reduce the need for thicker core walls, bigger columns and larger foundations. 

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial. 

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