Decision details

Defining and delivering truly ‘Net Zero’ buildings

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Cllr Wolff, seconded by Cllr Simmons proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

Cllr Turner proposed minor amendments to the motion, put to Council in writing, to remove from the second sentence the words ‘For the sake of clarity in public discourse, the Council therefore moves to accept’ and to include the words underlined as below.

Cllr Wolff accepted the amendments.

After debate and on being put to the vote the amended motion was agreed.


Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

Oxford City Council is listed as a member of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), along with Cambridge, Bristol and 43 other local authorities.

In its communications the Council asks Cabinet to use the 'framework definition' of 'net zero carbon buildings' as developed by the UKGBC (or make it clear where this is not the case), which in summary states:

Net zero carbon – construction (1.1):

When the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative, through the use of offsets or the net export of on-site renewable energy.

Net zero carbon – operational energy (1.2):

When the amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or negative. A net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon balance, after all efforts have been otherwise made, offset.

Note: The framework also provides reporting templates, which (if followed) enable claims of 'net zero' construction and operation to be supported with evidence.


Council asks that the Head of Regeneration & Economy brings a report to Cabinet setting out proposals (including costings) as to how the authority can could ensure that:

        its own properties meet net-zero operational standards by 2030 at the latest; and

        all new build by the Council meets net zero carbon construction standards by 2030 at the latest; and

        it further explores the possibility of reflecting this in the relevant planning policies and guidance when they are reviewed in the future.

and advising the Cabinet on ways to ensure that:

        'net zero' claims made by house-builders operating in the city and the Council are evidentially supportable (and incompliance in compliance with the definition as above).


Publication date: 01/02/2021

Date of decision: 25/01/2021

Decided at meeting: 25/01/2021 - Council