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As scrutiny of embodied carbon increases, the NSW government has announced that it will fund the investigation and development of a world-leading framework for measuring, benchmarking and certifying emissions from construction and building materials.

Carbon emissions from materials used in construction, such as steel and cement, are expected to become the largest source of carbon emissions in the building sector in the coming decades. Targeted action on reducing emissions from building materials is therefore seen as crucial to meeting net zero targets.

The proposed framework will be nationally applicable, and developed with the aim of being incorporated into the NABERS suite. To achieve this, NSW will work in partnership with government jurisdictions across Australia, as well as with industry organisations across the built environment. The framework will be designed to be aligned with other widely used building sustainability schemes, such as Green Star.

The initiative will be part of the Accelerating Net Zero Buildings program, which also features workstreams focused on energy efficiency in new and existing buildings.

Initially, the embodied carbon stream under the Accelerating Net Zero Buildings program will focus on two areas:

Market feasibility: Engaging key industry stakeholders such as property developers and construction companies, for problem analysis, concept prototyping and prototype testing. The outcome of this is expected to include solid recommendations as to how emissions from construction materials could be incorporated into the NABERS program.

Technical analysis: Developing the framework for measuring embodied carbon in buildings, in consultation with property owners, developers, ESD designers and life-cycle analysis experts.

For more information, email nabers@environment.nsw.gov.au

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