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The ‘Moving towards net-zero buildings’ commitment, initiated by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, in collaboration with property services company JLL and property company Hammerson, aims to deliver ultra-low energy buildings. It comes in response to a lack of coordinated approach across the built environment sector in the delivery of energy-efficient buildings.

EU regulation states that by 31 December 2020 all new buildings must be nZEBs. Energy-efficient buildings will help unlock productivity and boost EU innovation and low carbon economy.

The commitment has been signed by 16 leading organizations representing different sectors of the property sector supply chain, including Acciona, British Land, Doosan, Ferrovial, GlaxoSmithKline, Hammerson, Heathrow, Interface, JLL, Kingfisher, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group, Philips, Skanska, Sky and Tesco.

The property sector has a huge role to play in delivering a low carbon economy across the EU – contributing approximately 40 percent of total carbon emissions. In recognition of this, the first-ever ‘Buildings Day’ as part of the Lima Paris Action Agenda was held at COP21 on 3 December 2015, where this commitment was unveiled.

The pledge outlines several actions that the signatories commit to, including:

Driving down energy intensity across corporate property estates; Committing to the 2020 goals of nZEB for new buildings and further action on renovation by 2030 as well as transparently reporting on progress against this; Collaborating across the supply chain to set sector-specific targets and goals; and Continuing to engage with policymakers on policy, progress, reporting and performance towards zero energy goals.

The commitment simultaneously calls for action from the EU and the Member States to support the delivery of these commitments through a range of measures, including a stable long-term sector plan for emissions reductions and a consistent program of public-sector involvement in low carbon and energy efficiency technologies.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, said: “Better energy efficiency of buildings will put us on a low carbon pathway while improving the productivity of the economy as a whole. It offers a new business opportunity in its own right. The inconsistent performance of the building sector to date in improving energy efficiency highlights the need for a more focused and concerted approach. The new commitment presented today by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and partnering companies aims to address this gap.”

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, said: “Establishing a forum for purposeful collaboration between businesses across the property supply chain is a major achievement. It has the potential to drive significant results in our immediate challenge of limiting the damaging effects of climate change. The range of businesses represented already within this commitment is clear evidence in itself of the commercial sense that lies within tackling urgently this most pressing problem. Hammerson looks forward to working with our fellow signatories to bring about real change.”

Guy Grainger, UK CEO at JLL said: “This pledge makes complete business sense. Moving towards a low carbon economy will boost much needed UK productivity levels and will help drive innovation. The building sector is also highly reliant on imported energy and we need to raise ambition, provide the right incentives for upgrading existing building stock and end energy import dependency. With only 4 years to go until the 2020 zero-carbon deadline, the time for concerted action across the industry is now.” 

Eric Rondolat, CEO Philips Lighting said: “Improving energy efficiency of buildings not only provides an important contribution to reducing carbon emissions, it also creates a significant number of – mostly local – jobs for people renovating existing buildings, boosts innovation for better new buildings, and perhaps most importantly makes the places where we live and work more comfortable and productive. We see great examples of such impact by switching to the latest connected LED lighting in offices, schools and homes. So, all in all very good reasons to accelerate the renovation of the huge stock of existing buildings – ideally to 3 percent per year – and to step up innovation investments in even better smart technologies for buildings yet to be constructed.”

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, said: “Using the latest innovations in building design is one of the ways that Heathrow is working to reduce carbon emissions across the airport. Heathrow’s Terminal 2 was designed to be sustainable and is the first airport terminal to be BREEAM certified. That has set a benchmark for the industry. But we are not done yet. We will work closely with our supply chain and with our aviation industry colleagues to deliver the actions in the Net Zero Buildings Commitment announced today.”

Robert Boogaard, CEO Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Interface, said: “At Interface we have reduced our own GHG by more than 90 percent and it has paid back well. Even better opportunities are in buildings, thanks to the holistic combination of purpose-driven design, smart technologies and advanced insulation solutions, among others. We call for the industry at large to join forces in this tremendous business opportunity.”

Jennifer Clark, Senior Vice President Green and Community Investment, Skanska, said: “Green building is a great business opportunity for us as it is right for the planet, attractive to customers, communities, and employees alike; and it creates value for our shareholders. The best part is that we don’t have to wait. Skanska already has the competence and technology we need to build Deep Green and Net Zero Energy Buildings. Through working with our customers and other value chain stakeholders we seek to scale up the delivery of these projects and inspire transformative change in the market.”

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