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2020: The Year of Net Zero

  • 2020 will be a defining year for the built environment
  • Cundall is working with industry bodies to revolutionise the UK’s approach to net zero buildings and showcase it to the rest of world at COP26
  • As a business, Cundall will achieve net zero certification by mid-year

2020 will be a defining year for the UK’s built environment, marking the dawn of a decade of action in which the industry will be transformed by the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Central to this will be the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report calling for all new buildings to be net zero within the next 10 years, and all existing buildings by 2050 at the latest.

Multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, has named 2020 the ‘Year of Net Zero’, announcing its resolution to collaborate with industry bodies to revolutionise the built environment’s approach to net zero. Cundall will work alongside the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the UK Green Building Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) to help unify the industry and define targets for achieving net zero carbon in both new and existing buildings. They will then lobby to set these targets in legislation ready to showcase to the world at COP26 which is taking place in Glasgow in November.

Simon Wyatt, Sustainability Partner at Cundall, said:

“We saw more industry action around sustainability in the second half of 2019 than in the whole preceding decade and I expect this to continue to shape the industry in 2020. With COP26 due to take place in Glasgow, it’s an excellent opportunity for the UK building industry to set an example for the rest of the world and lead the conversation on how to achieve net zero carbon in the built environment.

“Ultimately, achieving net zero is an engineering problem that needs a technical solution, and we are dedicated to helping the industry achieve it.”

Cundall is currently working with the GLA to launch new standards for whole life carbon for all referable schemes by early February, simultaneously setting out a proposed roadmap and targets for all developments in the next decade. The next step will be to set intensive targets for whole life and embodied carbon and mandate compulsory reporting for all building projects.

At the same time, the practice is also collaborating with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) to help unify the industry on setting operational energy intensity targets for all building types. Once agreed the aim will be to get these included in legislation for both new and existing buildings so that we can meet our net zero carbon targets. 

Cundall has also reaffirmed its commitment to achieving net zero carbon throughout its own business operations, incorporating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into every element and leading the way for others to do the same.

Tomás Neeson, Managing Partner at Cundall commented:

“Sustainability permeates through every aspect of Cundall, achieving net zero is a huge part of that, and with COP26 in Glasgow later this year, we are committed to not only achieving net zero carbon throughout our own offices, but to sharing our learnings and leading the conversation around net zero carbon projects that started in 2019 and will likely only become more vociferous as COP26 draws closer.

“When we launched our latest Sustainability Roadmap in late 2018, we were under no illusions that achieving our ambitious net zero goals would be straight forward. Net zero is a complex issue that needs the type of technical solution that we, as engineers, are best-placed to provide, and it is through the process of continuously learning from our project experience, developing our approach and adjusting our methods that we can succeed.”

Cundall Australia has led the charge to net zero, achieving certification in late 2019 and setting the bar for Cundall’s other offices around the globe to follow suit by June this year. Once this is achieved, the practice will continue along the path to being 115 per cent carbon positive by 2025.

Cundall’s #yearofnetzero campaign will run throughout 2020. The UN’s #2030isnow and #decadeofaction campaigns are ongoing.

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