A simpler way to measure the carbon footprint of buildings

Tuesday, 11 July, 2017

A newly released ISO standard is expected to make it easier to determine and report the carbon metric associated with the operation of existing buildings.

With buildings responsible for as much as one-third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measuring and reporting GHG emissions from existing buildings is critical to enabling GHG mitigation. Until now, however, there has been no globally agreed method to measure, report and verify potential reductions of GHG emissions from existing buildings in a consistent and comparable way.

ISO 16745, Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works – Carbon metric of an existing building during use stage (Parts 1 and 2), will provide a set of methods for the calculation, reporting, communication and verification of a collection of carbon metrics for GHG emissions arising from the measured energy use during the activity of an existing building, the measured user-related energy use, and other relevant GHG emissions and removals.

The standard could be used as a universal tool for measuring and reporting GHG emissions, providing the foundation for accurate performance baselines of buildings to be drawn, national targets to be set and carbon trading to occur on a level playing field. It is expected to be useful not only in countries with a sufficient number of experts and a precise database, but also in those countries where experts’ services are limited and databases have considerable gaps.

The standard aims to be practical for members of the building profession as well as the many stakeholders who are expected to use the carbon metric of a building as reference for decision-making in their business activities, governmental policies and benchmarking. The simplicity of its approach means it is applicable at all scales, from cities and building portfolios to individual buildings.

ISO 16745 was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 59, Buildings and civil engineering works, subcommittee SC 17, Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works. It is available through the ISO Store.

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