The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has released the second edition of its Whole-Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment (WLCA) standard. Developed in collaboration with the UK Department for Transport and Net Zero Waste Scotland, the new edition is a global version of the standard that aims to provide a deeper understanding of the carbon costs and benefits of design choices in construction and infrastructure projects.
The WLCA standard covers all built assets and infrastructure projects throughout their lifecycle. It enables assessors to estimate the amount of carbon emitted from the early stages of development to the end of life, considering embodied carbon, operational carbon, and user carbon. The standard can be used by assessors, contractors, developers, lenders, and investors to make more informed decisions and achieve consistent reporting.
The methodology of the new WLCA standard will be incorporated into the Net Zero Carbon Building Standard, which is currently under development. This will allow the assessment of various carbon sources, including upfront, embodied, operational, user, and whole-life carbon. RICS’ director of surveying standards, Charlotte Neal, believes that the new standard will significantly improve the industry’s ability to measure and manage its impact on climate change.
The release of this standard has received positive feedback from industry professionals. Ben Colling, director of portfolio management and ESG at Maslow Capital, highlights the importance of the WLCA framework in achieving net zero buildings and meeting future energy efficiency standards. Chris Gardner, joint CEO at Atelier, believes that the standard will solidify the UK’s position as a global leader in net zero construction and hopes it will become a benchmark for the entire property sector. Additionally, Justin Young, CEO at RICS, sees the second edition of WLCA as a global solution to a global problem, asserting RICS’s commitment to guiding the industry towards decarbonisation.
Overall, the new edition of the WLCA standard provides a comprehensive tool for assessing and managing carbon emissions throughout the life cycle of construction and infrastructure projects. It aligns with the global effort to combat climate change and supports the industry’s transition towards sustainability and net zero carbon buildings.