Commitment Glossary

Here is a glossary of terms used in relation to the Advancing Net Zero programme, the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and corressponding documents:

 

Advancing net zero: Actions taken to reduce emissions from operational and embodied carbon, with residual emissions compensated for via compensation activities in the transition to net zero emissions.

Avoided emission offset: Eliminate emissions from a source outside the value chain of the entity, normally by investing offsets credits into projects which establish access to renewable energy sources; for example by replacing fossil fuel sources with solar panels.

Carbon capture: Refers to a range of methods which either remove CO2 from the atmosphere and/or prevent it from being released at source.

Carbon offset: An offset is where an avoidance, reduction, or removal of a carbon emission is used to compensate for or neutralise a CO2 emission that occurs elsewhere.

Carbon offset credit: A tradable, non-tangible instrument representing a unit of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) – typically one tonne – that is reduced, avoided or sequestered by a project and is certified/verified to an internationally recognised carbon accounting standard1.

Carbon removal offset: A type of offset that takes CO2 out of the air and permanently stores it. For all forms of carbon removal, whether nature-based solutions or technologically-mediated processes, carbon must be stored2.

Embodied carbon: Carbon emissions associated with materials and construction processes used throughout the whole lifecycle of a building or infrastructure.

Emissions reduction offset: Any activity that compensates for the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases (measured in carbon dioxide equivalents [CO2e]) by providing an emission reduction elsewhere3; e.g. through installation of renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuel-based energy sources for a given asset.

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): Gaseous constituents of the atmosphere which properties cause the greenhouse effect. Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3) are the primary GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Net zero operational carbon: When the amount of carbon dioxide emissions associated with building operations on an annual basis is reduced (highly energy efficient andfully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources) to a level that is consistent with reaching net zero at the global or sector level in 1.5oC pathways. Any residual emissions that remain unfeasible to eliminate should be neutralised through carbon removals4.

Net zero whole life carbon: When, in addition to net zero operational carbon, upfront carbon and other embodied carbon across the building lifecycle is reduced to a level that is consistent with reaching net zero at the global or sector level in 1.5oC pathways. Any residual emissions that remain unfeasible to eliminate should be neutralised through carbon removals4.

Non credit based actions: Projects to compensate for emissions that are credible, unique, additional and permanent, but not currently verified by credit schemes.

Operational carbon: Carbon emissions associated with energy used to light, heat, cool, and power a building.

Residual emissions: Emissions which remain once all feasible methods for reducing emissions during construction and operation have been exhausted.

Restorative carbon removal: Actions which actively sequester carbon from the atmosphere, reversing the effects of anthropocentric emissions.

Sector-based compensation offsets: Verified offsets which contribute to avoiding or reducing emissions from buildings or construction projects external to the asset.

Scope 1 emissions: Emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.

Scope 2 emissions: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat, or cooling consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 3 emissions: All indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions, with no direct ownership or control over.

Upfront (embodied) carbon: Total carbon emissions produced in the production and construction process stages of a building lifecycle, including emissions from raw material supply, manufacturing, transportation, and construction or installation of a building.

Zero carbon: Refers to highly efficient assets which are built and operated using 100% renewable energy sources and are fossil fuel free.

 


1 ICROA, ‘Code of Best Practice for Carbon Management Services’ (2020)
2 University of Oxford, ‘The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting’ (2020)
3 Definition from the Encyclopedia Britannica (2021)
4 Science Based Targets, ‘Foundations for Science-based Net Zero Target Setting in the Corporate Sector’ (2020)

Here is a glossary of terms used in relation to the Advancing Net Zero programme, the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and corressponding documents:

 

Advancing net zero: Actions taken to reduce emissions from operational and embodied carbon, with residual emissions compensated for via compensation activities in the transition to net zero emissions.

Avoided emission offset: Eliminate emissions from a source outside the value chain of the entity, normally by investing offsets credits into projects which establish access to renewable energy sources; for example by replacing fossil fuel sources with solar panels.

Carbon capture: Refers to a range of methods which either remove CO2 from the atmosphere and/or prevent it from being released at source.

Carbon offset: An offset is where an avoidance, reduction, or removal of a carbon emission is used to compensate for or neutralise a CO2 emission that occurs elsewhere.

Carbon offset credit: A tradable, non-tangible instrument representing a unit of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) – typically one tonne – that is reduced, avoided or sequestered by a project and is certified/verified to an internationally recognised carbon accounting standard1.

Carbon removal offset: A type of offset that takes CO2 out of the air and permanently stores it. For all forms of carbon removal, whether nature-based solutions or technologically-mediated processes, carbon must be stored2.

Embodied carbon: Carbon emissions associated with materials and construction processes used throughout the whole lifecycle of a building or infrastructure.

Emissions reduction offset: Any activity that compensates for the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases (measured in carbon dioxide equivalents [CO2e]) by providing an emission reduction elsewhere3; e.g. through installation of renewable energy sources in place of fossil fuel-based energy sources for a given asset.

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): Gaseous constituents of the atmosphere which properties cause the greenhouse effect. Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3) are the primary GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Net zero operational carbon: When the amount of carbon dioxide emissions associated with building operations on an annual basis is reduced (highly energy efficient andfully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources) to a level that is consistent with reaching net zero at the global or sector level in 1.5oC pathways. Any residual emissions that remain unfeasible to eliminate should be neutralised through carbon removals4.

Net zero whole life carbon: When, in addition to net zero operational carbon, upfront carbon and other embodied carbon across the building lifecycle is reduced to a level that is consistent with reaching net zero at the global or sector level in 1.5oC pathways. Any residual emissions that remain unfeasible to eliminate should be neutralised through carbon removals4.

Non credit based actions: Projects to compensate for emissions that are credible, unique, additional and permanent, but not currently verified by credit schemes.

Operational carbon: Carbon emissions associated with energy used to light, heat, cool, and power a building.

Residual emissions: Emissions which remain once all feasible methods for reducing emissions during construction and operation have been exhausted.

Restorative carbon removal: Actions which actively sequester carbon from the atmosphere, reversing the effects of anthropocentric emissions.

Sector-based compensation offsets: Verified offsets which contribute to avoiding or reducing emissions from buildings or construction projects external to the asset.

Scope 1 emissions: Emissions from operations that are owned or controlled by the reporting company.

Scope 2 emissions: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, steam, heat, or cooling consumed by the reporting company.

Scope 3 emissions: All indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions, with no direct ownership or control over.

Upfront (embodied) carbon: Total carbon emissions produced in the production and construction process stages of a building lifecycle, including emissions from raw material supply, manufacturing, transportation, and construction or installation of a building.

Zero carbon: Refers to highly efficient assets which are built and operated using 100% renewable energy sources and are fossil fuel free.

 


1 ICROA, ‘Code of Best Practice for Carbon Management Services’ (2020)
2 University of Oxford, ‘The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting’ (2020)
3 Definition from the Encyclopedia Britannica (2021)
4 Science Based Targets, ‘Foundations for Science-based Net Zero Target Setting in the Corporate Sector’ (2020)

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