What is a Zero Carbon Building?

What does “Zero Carbon” mean?  We thought we’d post this for clarity, when eTool make a claim about one of our subscriber’s (or client’s) buildings we aren’t cutting corners. When we use phrases like “Zero Carbon”, “Low Carbon” etc we’re talking about the Life Cycle Emissions of the buildings.  The normal scope is summarised in the following system boundary diagram (which also works pretty well for infrastructure as well).

 

eToolLCD System Boundary

eToolLCD System Boundary

There’s a number of varying definitions for “Zero Carbon” in use.  In Europe (including the UK) it’s generally only inclusive of module B6 in the above diagram (that’s integrated equipment energy use in the building) which is very limited.  Some more detail on the varied definitions is available from these two downloads (there are a host more such studies / reports / articles on the internet, this is just a sample):

What is a “Carbon Neutral” Building? Light House Sustainable Building Centre Defining Zero Carbon Buildings – ASBEC

Defining Zero Carbon Buildings – ASBEC

 

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