2020 will be a defining year for the built environment, marking the dawn of a decade of action in which the industry will be transformed by the United Nation’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Central to this is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report calling for all new buildings to be net zero within the next 10 years, and all existing buildings by 2050 at the very latest.

Multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, has named 2020 the ‘Year of Net Zero’, announcing its resolution to collaborate with industry bodies to change the built environment’s approach to net zero globally.

Cundall is working alongside the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Hong Kong’s Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) to help unify the industry and define targets, strategies and transition plans for achieving net zero carbon in both new and existing buildings.

David Clark, Sustainability Partner at Cundall, said in the last 12 months, there has been a significant shift in Australia in the level of urgency and willingness of industry to become zero carbon by 2030. “We need to make this the norm, and push government policy to catch up so that everyone has to do it,” he said.

“Achieving zero carbon is a global challenge that requires strong technical solutions and engineers will play a key role in delivering these. Cundall is dedicated to helping the industry and government meet the challenge”

For example, Cundall’s active role in GBCA committees and expert reference panels is supporting the next generation of Green Star ratings in Australia.

This will raise the bar significantly for sustainable buildings, providing a de-facto standard that other projects can use to define zero carbon, while also driving improvements in the design, construction, material and product supply chains which helps all the non-Green Star projects.

In 2019, Cundall’s Australian business became certified Carbon Neutral under the Australian Government’s Climate Active scheme, and in 2020 the business will apply these principles globally.

This is another step on the journey to becoming climate restorative by 2025, a goal the company first established in 2012 and has been committed to ever since.

Cundall managing partner, Tomás Neeson, said sustainability is fundamental to Cundall’s future.

“Sustainability is fundamental to Cundall’s future, and achieving net zero carbon is a huge part of that. We are committed to not only achieving net zero carbon throughout our own offices, but to sharing our learnings and leading the conversation around net zero carbon on projects that will likely only become more vociferous as COP26 draws closer," he said.

“When we first launched our Sustainability Roadmap in 2012 and updated in 2018, we were under no illusions that achieving our ambitious carbon goals would be straight forward.

"Net zero is a complex issue that needs the type of technical solution that we, as engineers, are well-placed to provide, and it is through the process of continuously learning from our project experience, developing our approach and adjusting our methods that we can succeed.”



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