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Carbon Action 2050

The Carbon Action 2050 toolkit is an action plan of simple, practical steps that can be taken by the Institute, its members and the wider construction industry to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment. Now. Anywhere in the world.

Carbon Action 2050 is the CIOB’s initiative to provide guidance to the built environment sector on how to cut carbon emissions by applying innovation and best practice to project design, construction, maintenance, operation, retrofit, and waste management. We also recognise the skills that are needed to achieve this and the vital requirement to measure, manage and change environmental practices through effective leadership.

So why are we doing this?

We know that our members and the wider industry will respond to the challenges that lie ahead, and that the practical information contained within this site will help them do so. Carbon Action 2050, just like the low carbon agenda, will not remain static; it is an evolving and constantly-reviewed resource that provides guidance to achieving regulatory targets and beyond.

Being carbon and resource efficient is increasingly seen as a way of not merely complying with legislation, but also with winning new business, improving efficiency, cutting costs, and breeding innovation. The case studies on this site demonstrate just that.


Your Action Plan

The CIOB and its members have developed this action plan to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment, by making an immediate difference on the ground now.



Although construction processes represent a minor portion of the whole lifecycle of a building's carbon emissions, they are still responsible for the production of staggering quantities of carbon and command radical action to reduce them. 

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If designers are to continue to have relevance to our industry, there requires an open understanding that designs which cut carbon emissions and increase energy and resource efficiency will be an utmost priority. 

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Carbon Action 2050 itself has been mentioned in the UK Government’s response to the Low Carbon Construction IGT report led by the Chief Construction Advisor, and our own views on topics such as the Green Deal, building regulations, energy efficiency, waste management, sustainability reporting and more all draw their evidence base from the information contained on this site.



Data collection is the central plank to leadership; what you cannot measure you cannot manage, and what you cannot manage you cannot change. We need to embed changed behaviours, using common metrics to evidence leadership and improvement.

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Operations and Maintenance

The variables involved with operating and maintaining buildings are vast, including everyday use, designated uses of different space, the complexity of plant and equipment installed and, of course, the behaviour of the end user.

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Retrofit and Refurbishment

Retrofitting and re-using buildings is paramount to reducing carbon in the built environment. It maximises the use of an asset's embodied cabon, while rendering it as energy-efficient as possible. 

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Skills and Education

Our own research indicated that there are knowledge gaps at student level of low carbon construction methods. Educating both the current and future workforce will be vital to meeting carbon targets and creating jobs. 

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On the surface, construction waste and carbon may seem unconnected. But whatever we manufacture and ultimately dispose of is part of a wider scenario involving embodied energy and carbon. So it is fundamentally important that we continue to effectively manage and reduce construction waste.

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