RIBA 2030 Target

Can cove.tool meet the Royal British Institute of Architects (RIBA) 2030 targets for energy and carbon?

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

Yes! This article discusses how cove.tool can be used to assist UK teams to reach the RIBA 2030 Target.

What is RIBA 2030?

In 2019, to address the climate emergency, the UK Government passed a law to require the country to end its contribution to global warming by the year 2050. This most notable commitment was to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero. To ensure the practice & industry is on track towards net-zero, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has set the RIBA Chartered Practices - a challenge of achieving the following reductions as soon as possible but as a minimum for projects in operation in 2030:

  1. Reduce operational energy demand by at least 60% from current business as usual baseline figures, before offsetting

  2. Reduce embodied carbon by at least 40% from current business as usual baseline figures, before offsetting

  3. Reduce potable water use by at least 40% from CIRIA benchmark/ Building Regulation figures

  4. Achieve all core health and wellbeing metrics

For reference purposes current (2021) Good Practices for new build projects in-use now are as follows:

  • Non-Domestic (new build office)
    Operational Energy 90 kWh/m2 /y (GIA) and/or DEC C(65) and/or NABERS Base build 5; Embodied Carbon LETI Band D 1180 kgCO2e/m2 ; Potable Water Use 16 l/p/day

  • Non-Domestic (schools)
    Operational Energy 75 kWh/m2 /y (GIA); Embodied Carbon LETI Band D 870 kgCO2e/m2 ; Potable Water Use 3m3 /pupil/y

  • Domestic/Residential
    Operational Energy 60 kWh/m2 /y (GIA) no gas boilers; Embodied Carbon LETI Band D 1000 kgCO2e/m2 ; Potable Water Use 110 l/p/day

These reductions will also form the basis of RIBA’s recommendations to the Government for future Building Regulations requirements.

The Targets v2 (2021)

The RIBA 2030 climate challenge targets were redefined in 2021 and significant changes have been made specially to embodied carbon filed. The new embodied carbon target aligns with LETI, the Whole Life Carbon Network, and others, and follows the latest jointly authored guidance. Since the challenge performance targets are for existing buildings that are already in operation, RIBA highly advocates that buildings in design today adopt the 2025 targets as a minimum. The table below shows the detailed target metrics for different use types:

  • RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target metrics for non-domestic (new build offices)

  • RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target metrics for non-domestic (new build schools)

  • RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target metrics for domestic/residential

2030 Climate Challenge Data Collection

A data form is available for signatories to complete and include the in-use energy and water performance data of the building one year after completion. This information needs to be obtained from the client and should be taken from energy/water meter readings (or energy/water bills) for the building over a year so that both winter and summer seasons feature in the calculation.

How cove.tool can help with RIBA 2030?

Meeting the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets is essential if architects are to play their part in mitigating climate change and limiting the rise of global temperature to below 1.5°C. Therefore, it is pretty important for architects to use data to inform their design and consider how their decisions impact the energy consumption, water use, and the embodied carbon emission of their project during the design process. Making environmentally responsible design decisions from early in the design process significantly helps with achieving the 2030 goals.

cove.tool is a wholistic building performance analysis tool that helps with estimating the energy consumption, operational carbon emission, water use, and embodied carbon emission as follows:

  1. Energy Use Intensity

    You can get an estimation of your design's energy use intensity (EUI) and operational carbon emission on the baseline energy page. This result is calculated based on the engineering inputs you enter at the bottom of the page as shown below. Read more about this feature, here.

2. Water Use

This feature allows users to calculate their building design's Interior WUI (Water Use Intensity), Irrigation/Outdoor Water Use, Stormwater Management, Cooling Tower Water Use, and water-related LEED Points based on the inputs they enter on the page. Read more about this feature, here.

3. Embodied Carbon Emission

Cove.tool has added embodied carbon as an optional property input in the change option tabs as a new column category in the Optimization Tool. In the former users can add embodied carbon values for each product, and in the latter can analyze the embodied carbon in CO2e (tonnes) for each available bundle option. Read more about optimization here.

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