Arup joins the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment

Kate Addlington Kate Adlington Global Press Office,London
10 December 2020

Arup has joined the WGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, a global initiative aimed at achieving 100% net zero carbon buildings in operation by 2050. 

By joining this initiative, the firm is committing to reaching net zero carbon in operation for all assets under its control by 2030. The goal will be achieved by a range of measures including improving the performance of its building portfolio and moving to 100% renewable electricity by 2023. 

Earlier this year Arup set its sights on achieving net zero emissions across its entire operations (scope 1, 2 and 3) by 2030, with an interim target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% within the next five years. This target has been classified as ambitious by the Science Based Target initiative as it exceeds the minimum requirements for keeping global temperature rise under 1.5oc.

With over 17,000 projects in more than 140 countries the firm is committed to sharing our real-world experience with clients and industry to play a leading role in accelerating zero carbon buildings. Projects include:

LEIQ, one of the first CO2-netural office buildings in the Frankfurt metropolitan area, will serve as a model for not only new buildings but also for the renovation of existing buildings. The energy savings for the building are expected to total more than 500 tonnes of CO2 over the next 20 years. 

One Taikoo Place in Hong Kong is the city’s first Artificial Intelligence-enabled smart building, allowing energy saving through advanced data analytic capabilities, machine learning and predictive maintenance. 

1 Triton Square in London saw the refurbishment of a 1990s office building, reusing as much of the existing building as possible. Overall the development and operational efficiencies will save an estimated 63,000 tonnes of carbon over 20 years with 54% less embodied carbon than a typical new build and over 50% greater operational efficiency than a typical commercial building. 

Genetic algorithms are also being used to bring energy savings to buildings. For example, a genetic algorithm was used to map 2,500 energy saving routes for a Whole Foods store in San Francisco a process that would have taken over ten years to map and assess manually. The algorithm identified 40 per cent energy savings. The power of AI and genetic algorithms are being harnessed in projects around the world to reduce cost and CO2 emissions. 

1 Triton Square - A Building for people 1 Triton Square - A Building for people
At Triton Square our development will save an estimated 63,000 tonnes of carbon over 20 years with 54% less embodied carbon than a typical new build and over 50% greater operational efficiency than a typical commercial building

Nigel Tonks, Arup’s UKIMEA Sustainable Development Leader “It is necessary that we commit to our own assets being 100% net zero and join this leading industry initiative to accelerate change. The biggest impact our designers and consultants will make is through the outcomes of working with our clients. We will succeed by rethinking planning, procurement and construction processes, by using AI and digital tools to elevate CO2 savings and by using the principles of the circular economy to reimagine how we deploy resources in the supply chain.”

As the building and construction sector prepares for COP26, World Green Building Council are delighted to welcome Arup to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment. As a member of over 14 GBCs, Arup’s goals will have a significant impact through the transformation of their own asset portfolio, but crucially, they will have a positive impact through their work with clients. By advocating for industry transformation and prioritising decarbonisation, adaptation and resilience on all of their design projects, they are displaying the industry climate leadership needed to achieve our shared vision for sustainable buildings for everyone, everywhere. ” Cristina Gamboa, CEO of World Green Building Council

Arup is working with organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Climate Champions to innovate and accelerate new approaches and business models to help the world decarbonise. The firm is also working with The Resilience Shift and the Global Resilient Cities Network to enhance the resilience of cities and communities to increasing shocks and stresses resulting from climate change, including drought, water scarcity and food supply disruption.  

Find out more about our work in Sustainability Consulting