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Guidance published to cut emissions of government buildings

A new guide to decarbonising public sector buildings and creating a net zero public estate has been published by the Cabinet Office.

The public sector estate – including offices, hospitals, prisons and job centres – is working to a target of delivering a 78 per cent 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.

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.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay said: “The public estate generates two per cent 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 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035, and fully net zero by 2050.

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.

The Playbook can be used as a guide by anyone responsible for managing government property across the public sector.

The Net Zero Estate Playbook supports existing policies designed to drive the UK towards achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050, including the 25-Year Environmental Plan, the Greening Government Commitments, and the Net Zero Strategy, which was published in October 2021.

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