Provide accurate and reliable data that demonstrates enhanced energy performance, reduced carbon emissions, and progress towards net zero carbon assets and portfolio
Report, disclose and verify annually on the progress of each asset and the portfolio towards achieving the outcomes of the Commitment through locally relevant third-party certification, third-party assurance or market mechanisms. For entities undertaking the policy pathway, the impact of the enacted policies and regulations on their greenhouse gas inventories will need to be disclosed using internationally recognized reporting protocols and market mechanisms.
Policy Pathway: Report progress of regulations and policy implementation Disclose buildings sector greenhouse gas inventory and progress against decarbonization targets using market mechanisms and internationally recognized reporting protocols
Municipal/Government Buildings Pathway: Annually disclose energy consumption and carbon emissions data using market mechanisms at asset and portfolio level Develop a verification roadmap and establish milestones to achieve full third-party verification (including certification and assurance) of all assets and the portfolio by 2030
As signatories of the Commitment, cities, states and regions must aim to have all data from individual assets and portfolio independently verified. Through extensive consultation with C40 Cities, the Under2 Coalition and the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Taskforce, the following has been developed:
Policy pathway requirements Cities, states and regions should demonstrate that their implemented regulations and planning policies are having an impact on decarbonizing buildings within their region. Therefore, cities, states and regions must:
- within two years of signing the agreement, set and report using market mechanisms a baseline of the greenhouse gas emissions inventory data of all buildings within their region. The inventory should be determined using internationally recognized reporting protocols
- no more than every four years from setting the baseline, report as above on any progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all buildings within their region
Cities, states and regions should also consider:
- tracking and addressing other emission sources beyond those covered by the Commitment (eg refrigerants, transport, or other)
- developing, or introducing, verification process for the data being collected
Municipal/government building pathway requirements Cities, states and regions are expected to demonstrate that their building and tenancy assets have been independently verified to be net zero by 2030 or earlier. Recognizing the extent, diversity, and number of asset classes that are under ownership and management of cities, states and regions, the signatories are expected to:
- within two years of signing the Commitment, disclose asset level annual energy consumption and carbon emission data using market mechanisms and to WorldGBC. This data must be updated every year to 2030
- within two years of signing the Commitment, develop and submit a verification roadmap
The verification roadmap details the transition from current practices towards the goal of full verification for all assets owned by the entity. The roadmap will need to include key milestones to ensure the goal of full verification can be met. Milestones can be set by each entity and should determine actions and time frames appropriate to the scale of the portfolio. For example, the entity may choose to start by looking at the most intensive energy consuming buildings, and move towards less intensive assets over time.
Verification Pathway Selection
The Commitment encourages entities to undergo the highest level of verification possible for both asset and portfolio level but understands that this may not be possible due to financial, geographical or political constraints. The process of ensuring the appropriate requirements for asset verification, portfolio assurance and reporting for their assets and portfolios will follow a combination of the methods outlined below. The below figure is indicative and provides guidance as to the combination that each entity may use to achieve the requirements of the verification section. For example, an entity may choose to complete third-party certification at both asset and portfolio level and then report or, alternatively, use third-party auditor verification at asset level and complete portfolio level assurance and then report.
Third-party verification requirements (asset and portfolio level)
Third-party certification schemes are the preferred delivery method of verification for the Commitment. For more information, please read ‘why third-party certification’ above.
Where certification schemes are not available or feasible, then third-party verification can be used at asset and portfolio level. Third-party verification is where an independent third party with relevant and extensive experience is able to conduct carbon accounting in accordance with international recognized greenhouse gas accounting standards and verification or assurance standards in line with the requirements below. A third-party verifier may be a relevant market mechanism or an accounting/assurance firm. Third-party verification can be a good way to achieve either verification or assurance outcomes to demonstrate the assets and portfolios are on track to meet the goals of the Commitment where third-party certification is not available.
Third-party asset verification requirements are as follow:
- the third-party auditor must demonstrate a level of competence in handling the verification from extensive previous experience
- the third-party auditor must be independent of the entity undergoing verification, so as to verify the accuracy of the greenhouse gas inventory. Internal verification is not acceptable
- the third-party auditor must conduct a whole verification whereby all assets within the entity’s portfolio are verified and must follow one of the standards listed under the verification guidance section of the CDP website.
- when undertaking the verification, the third-party auditor should use one of the following reporting protocols or accounting standards:
- 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories
- International Emissions Analysis Protocol
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories
- ISO 14064-1:2006 Greenhouse gases — Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals
Third-party portfolio assurance requirements are as follows:
- the third-party auditor must demonstrate a level of competence in handling the assurance from previous experience in both practice and application
- the third-party auditor must be independent of the entity undergoing assurance. They must be able to reach and publish an objective and impartial opinion or conclusions on the published report
- the third-party auditor must conduct assurance of the portfolio performance using one of the following standards
- ISAE 3000 (as done by a finance professional)
- AA1000AS (conducted with the requirements of the Commitment as a relevant stakeholder)
- issue a publicly available written report about the portfolio level performance of the entity with regards to the goals of the Commitment. The report must include an opinion or set of conclusions, description of responsibilities of the relevant parties involved and summary of work involved relevant to the applied assurance standard
- assess whether the report provides a reasonable and balanced presentation of performance, taking into consideration the veracity of data in the report as well as the overall selection of content
Market mechanisms (reporting platforms) requirements (portfolio level)
The market mechanism must be independent of the entity undergoing reporting.
- reporting must be publicly available annually and must detail the portfolio performance requirements required by this Commitment including percentage energy efficiency improvement, tCO2e of carbon emissions and energy demand intensity
- The reporting platform must demonstrate that the data submitted to it has been assured to one of the standards highlighted above
Additionally, where no asset level verification has been conducted for the portfolio:
- the reporting platform must require the entity to verify the asset level data using an appropriate greenhouse gas accounting process and to the relevant verification standard as outlined in the verification guidance section of the CDP website
Developer stream only: verification of predicted emissions
Developers should verify predicted emissions using locally relevant third-party certification schemes which provide appropriate methodology for calculating predicted energy consumption and emissions and, where possible, verify against actual consumption and emissions. Where local third-party certification is not available, then an applicable international third-party certification scheme should be used.
These methodologies should use energy modeling to simulate important climatic, occupant, passive and active design elements of the asset over a 12-month period to produce robust, accurate and reliable energy calculations.
Energy modeling can also be used to examine different strategies for asset design, energy efficiency goals and renewable energy implications.
Where possible, actual performance data should be collected post occupancy and compared against the predicted data. This will identify any potential performance gaps and help to validate or correct design and construction decisions for the next project.
The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment has been created by WorldGBC with NZCB Taskforce, C40 Cities GCAS Working Group and with WorldGBC corporate partners. This extensive and broad collaboration has created an initiative which is ambitious yet flexible and able to align with many different certifications or reporting mechanisms.
A number of Green Building Councils globally have net zero carbon certification schemes which can be used as a verification pathway for the Commitment. Some Green Building Councils have both asset and portfolio level options for verification which include energy efficiency requirements.
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