New ISO standard for measuring building carbon footprints

Measuring, reporting and reducing a building’s greenhouse gas output is set to become easier, thanks to a new ISO standard.

ISO 16745, Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works – Carbon metric of an existing building during use stage, Parts 1 and 2, provides a simple 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 of an existing building, the measured user-related energy use, and other relevant GHG emissions and removals.

“At a time when global warming is becoming more and more evident, with its devastating effects on the entire planet, having a tool to measure the carbon footprint left by buildings is of utmost importance,” Jacques Lair, chair of the ISO subcommittee that developed the standard, said.

While there are already tools available, Mr Lair said there was no globally agreed method to measure, report and verify potential reductions of GHG emissions from existing buildings in a consistent and comparable way.

The new standard can be used as a universal reporting and measurement tool, enabling accurate performance baselines to be drawn up.

The organisation hopes the standard will be useful not only to those in the building sector, but also stakeholders that use carbon metrics as part of decision-making in terms of business activities or government policies.

It is applicable at scales ranging from individual buildings to whole portfolios or cities.

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