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Decarbonising UK Real Estate

A new report has been published by the RICS called 'Decarbonising UK real estate' with recommendations for policy reform.


This report outlines the main policy reforms needed to accelerate the reduction of both embodied and operational carbon emissions arising from real estate in line with national decarbonisation targets.

Through the Nationally Determined Contribution and the amended Climate Change Act 2008, the UK has committed to reducing its emissions by at least 68% by 2030 (in comparison to 1990 levels), and to reach net zero carbon by 2050. In 2019, emissions generated in buildings by using electricity and by burning fossil fuels for heating and cooking (operational carbon emissions) accounted for 23% of the UK total. Another 7% were ‘embodied’ into buildings during the manufacturing and construction stages due to the energy used in those processes. Operational emissions have declined since the 1990s, mainly thanks to the switch to gas and electricity from coal, while embodied emissions have remained fairly stable, which has increased their relative importance. Overall, both operational and embodied emissions must be dramatically reduced (by around 95% and 85% respectively) to reach net zero by 2050.

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