CIBSE’s climate action plan one year on

A year after the Institution published its debut plan for climate action and mitigation, CIBSE’s Julie Godefroy summarises the first update

A year ago, CIBSE published its first climate action plan to frame how we could increase our efforts on climate action and mitigation. We mapped our current, and planned, activities in the areas where we have a duty and the ability to act.

The plan is now going through its first annual update, with key points summarised below. The full plan and webinar, is available here.


> Current activities

Plans for further action

? Possible further activity to be explored – members’ feedback welcome

As a professional institution

> Member of CIC Climate Change panel; contributing to cross-industry climate action plan and working groups, for example data and retrofit

– Increase awareness of the Code of Conduct; this is now promoted in 2020 Guide L; suggestions from members welcome, for example summary of benefits for clients?

Practising what we preach – our Balham office and activities

> Disclosure of performance: Display Energy Certificate, updated in December 2019.


> New research areas include retrofit, embodied carbon in building services, and circular economy

> New research insights on retrofit to NZEB standards, and circular economy principles in building services

? BSERT special issues, for example zero carbon, retrofit.


> Regular input to policy consultations and government working groups 

> New position statements on net zero carbon buildings, planning, and overheating

> Briefing of green recovery

> Signatory to joint BPN statement on regulations for operational performance

Competence and training

> New joint webinar with ASBP on embodied carbon in building services (23 July 2020)

> Reviewing our training programme against latest guidance and the net zero agenda

> Part of RIBA-led working group to develop joint industry curriculum on climate change and sustainability

> Introduce mandatory CPDs on climate change and zero carbon buildings.


> We have started to engage with academia and explore how we could increase the emphasis on climate change, adaptation and the transition to zero carbon in CIBSE course accreditation; we welcome feedback from academia, recent graduates and members of accreditation panels.

Events, dissemination and awards

– Further encourage and reward the monitoring of building performance, and disclosure of data

– Review awards criteria to increase consideration of embodied carbon.


Setting a strategy and objectives towards net zero:

> Input in RIBA 2030 Sustainability Challenge

> Revised Guide L: Sustainability, 2020

> Input and support to the LETI ‘one-pager’ on new operational net zero carbon buildings

> Online energy benchmarking tool; upcoming 2020 update, including domestic benchmarks; collaboration with others to share data

– Further development of benchmarking tool.

Delivering performance:

> New mapping of how our guidance can help deliver net zero, against LETI one-pager

> New working group on hot water temperatures for energy efficiency and low-carbon heat; guidance being drafted for instantaneous systems

> New working group on electrical engineering for net zero; strategic guidance being drafted

> Input to the LETI Embodied Carbon Primer

> Guidance on assessing embodied carbon of building services products being drafted

– New and updated guidance on heat pumps being drafted or scoped: Domestic heating design guide (DBSP); TM51; heat pumps in large residential schemes

– Produce new electrical engineering guidance including benchmarks, plant sizing, demand reduction and management, interaction with the network and EVs

– Produce new guidance on heat networks: 5th gen/ambient loops, and low carbon retrofits

– Develop our guidance on domestic and non-domestic retrofit, including historic buildings

? New Code of Practice for zero carbon buildings.

Feedback call

This climate action plan has been informed by input from members, other professional institutions and the wider industry. Please send your thoughts, how we could help you, and where you could support our activities, to
  • Dr Julie Godefroy is technical manager at CIBSE