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Launch of the built environment carbon database (BECD)

Published: 05/10/2023

Call to industry as carbon database launches, funded by BCIS

The government may be watering down its efforts to reach net zero, but the construction industry must not let up on its commitment to reduce its impact on climate change.

That’s the call to action from a consortium of leading organisations and professional bodies as it launches the ground-breaking Built Environment Carbon Database (BECD).

The project, which has been developed and funded by the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) over the last three years, is free-to-access and is designed to become the main source of carbon estimating and benchmarking for the industry.

The BECD steering group, which is responsible for its conceptual development, promotion and adoption, includes representatives from BCIS, RICS, The Carbon Trust, IStructE, BRE, CIOB, the Environment Agency, CIBSE, ICE, RIBA, the UK Green Building Council and ACE.

For James Fiske, BCIS CEO and chair of the steering group, the need to measure and report carbon data has reached a critical point.

He said: “With the government U-turning on green commitments, there has never been a more important time for the UK construction industry to take leadership on reducing its carbon emissions.

With the recently updated RICS Professional Standard on Whole Life Carbon Assessment, which gives consistency to measuring environmental impact and is being used as the accounting methodology in the net zero building carbon standard, we have the framework in place for us to do this.

The other important part of the jigsaw is the data. Unless we have easy access to accurate and consistent carbon emissions data, and a place where we can share learning and experience, we will never truly understand if we are making the right decisions.”

The built environment is responsible for almost 40% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, which means the construction industry’s role to play in addressing the climate emergency cannot be understated.

However, a lack of unity in how the industry approaches the problem is the greatest barrier to finding effective solutions. The collaborative nature of BECD, using a consistent methodology and it being accessible to all parts of the industry, has been fundamental.

Fiske said: “It has been a real joint industry effort, with all of the organisations and people who have generously given up their time through working groups or consultations, to get us to this point. The key now is that we push forward. If we are truly going to reduce our environmental impact, we need the industry to come together to share data and experience through BECD.”

The launch webinar

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