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Public sector estate targets net zero

New guidance has been published by the Cabinet Office which will help lower carbon emissions from government buildings across the public sector estate.

The Net Zero Playbook has been developed to provide guidance to those who manage public buildings in reducing emissions and helping the government achieve net zero targets.

With the UK government the first to commit to Net Zero and following on from many other green commitments announced COP26 climate conference, it is keen to take the lead and show other government’s that the commitment is being taken seriously.

With the public sector estate the largest property portfolio in the country, targeting a reduction in emissions on these buildings will see a reduction in emissions by some 2%. The public sector estate – including offices, hospitals, prisons and job centres – is working to a target of delivering a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035

The Net Zero Estate Playbook will ensure consistent approaches, such as using solar panels, LED lighting and greener building materials, are applied across public buildings as they help decarbonise Britain’s largest property portfolio.

The guidance will make national infrastructure greener by giving departments, the public sector, and government property professionals clear guidance on the design, implementation, and monitoring of Net Zero strategies and delivery programmes.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: “The public estate generates 2% of the UK’s total emissions. So, decarbonising public buildings is absolutely crucial if we’re going to meet our environmental targets.

“Property Professionals should use the Playbook to turn best-practice into standard-practice. It will put the public estate in a stronger position to deliver a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035, and fully net zero by 2050.”

One example of a current site which follows the principles of the Playbook is the recently opened DWP hub in Tŷ Taf, Wales. The new site is leading the way in sustainability with energy efficient solar-powered technology. The site also has electric vehicle charging points for staff, putting it at the forefront of the UK Government’s commitment to using Ultra Low Emission transport.

The guidance, which will be applied to both existing and new properties, will also help the Department of Health and associated public bodies improve sustainability of their hospitals through the use of low carbon materials and improved understanding of a building’s environmental impact over its entire lifespan.

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