Last edited 23 Feb 2021

Operational carbon

Climate Emergency Design Guide: How new buildings can meet UK climate change’, published by The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) in January 2020 defines Operational carbon (kgCO2e) as:

‘The carbon dioxide and equivalent global warming potential (GWP) of other gases associated with the in-use operation of the building. This usually includes carbon emissions associated with heating, hot water, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems, as well as those associated with cooking, equipment, and lifts (i.e. both regulated and unregulated energy uses).

Net zero operational carbon refers to: 'A new building that achieves a level of energy performance in-use in line with our national climate change targets that does not burn fossil fuels and that is 100% powered by renewable energy.'

Embodied Carbon: Developing a Client Brief, published by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) in March 2017, defines operational carbon as: ‘Carbon emissions’ association with energy consumption (operational energy) while the building is occupied. This includes the regulated load (e.g. heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting) and unregulated/plug load (e.g. ICT equipment, cooking, refrigeration appliances).’

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