Simon Cox (Prologis) Helen Drury (Tritax)

The design and construction of DPD’s new net zero distribution centre in Bicester is being held up as an example of how logistics firms and developers can radically cut carbon in new buildings.

DPD’s new DC, which is currently under construction, features in a report by logistics property companies Prologis and Tritax Big Box.

Dubbed Net-zero building in action, the report aims to share the two company’s combined experience in cutting and mitigating carbon emissions in buildings.

The report shares the strategies both property companies are using to achieve net zero carbon buildings, in line with parameters set by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

It also challenges logistic companies to raise their game in developing sustainable logistics buildings.

The report highlights Prologis UK’s work with sustainability certification programme The Planet Mark over the past 12 years to measure, reduce and mitigate the whole-life embodied carbon footprint of each new building, based on robust carbon lifecycle assessments.

Prologis then surpasses the Planet Mark certification scheme to mitigate five times the unavoidable carbon emissions in its buildings by working with climate change charity, Cool Earth.

Over the past 12 years, this initiative has protected over 12,500 acres of rainforest, locking in 3.7 tonnes of CO2 and protecting over 3.4 million trees, according to the report.

The pathway to net zero carbon devised by Tritax Big Box, along with its logistics developer Tritax Symmetry, runs along similar lines.

The two have developed an analytical model to measure the embodied carbon of each of the materials and products used during construction, in order to identify the building’s lifecycle carbon impact.

The model is currently being piloted on two developments – DPD’s new distribution facility at Bicester and another for the Co-op Group at Symmetry Park in Biggleswade.

On completion, each building will be independently verified as net zero carbon in accordance with UKGBC’s framework definition.

Simon Cox (above left), prologist first vice president and UK sustainability officer said: “The carbon mitigation scheme we have developed at Prologis provides clear metrics to our customers, so they know that the buildings they are using are certified as net zero carbon and support their own sustainability credentials.

“Working with The Planet Mark and Cool Earth, our activities are helping to fund rainforest restoration programmes and protect the planet against the ravaging effects of climate change.

“Crucially, we don’t just aim for net zero, our carbon mitigation scheme is deliberately weighted to over-compensate for the residual embodied carbon of any new building, delivering a net environmental benefit.”

Helen Drury (above right), Tritax Big Box sustainability lead, said: “The logistics buildings we develop today will be here in 2050 and, therefore, we have a responsibility to ensure they are net zero carbon when we hand them over to our customers. The model we have developed is an important sustainability asset and we will continue to refine it to take account of new building products and methods.”

Karl Desai, UKGBC senior advisor in advancing net zero, added: “These companies have come together to share their knowledge and experience in a transparent way and this is exactly the kind of initiative that is needed to increase the pace of change across the wider construction sector. Embodied carbon in the built environment accounts for around 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this must be tackled now.”