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Norway is best in working towards zero carbon emissions for building

Brazil comes in second followed by the UK, however, there are still a number of areas to be improved on in these countries, the report says.

The fourth and fifth places are taken by Australia and China. At the bottom of the index is Russia, Luxembourg and Canada with Greece and South Africa only just above them. None of these have moved.

However, there has been considerable movement in the middle of the ranking. Looking across the period 2008/2010, six countries have shown notable improvement: Finland, Sweden, France, the Slovak Republic, USA and Belgium. India, Ireland and Italy have fallen significantly in their rankings.

The RICS Global Zero Carbon Capacity Index (or ZC2 Index) has for the past three years assessed 34 individual countries on a number of factors, looking at how they are progressing towards a zero carbon built environment.

Due to its carbon reduction policies, the UK ranked third in the index, just behind Norway and Brazil. Norway was top for the third year running, while Brazil moved up six places due to low energy use and high contribution of renewable energy.

The ZC2  Index assesses advances towards a decarbonised environment by using three indicators; consumption of energy in the residential, tertiary and transport sectors; the contribution of renewable energy to total primary energy supply (TPES); and the policy frameworks countries have put in place to promote carbon reductions in the built environment.

Highlighting the inroads made towards zero carbon emissions in the residential sector, the UK’s ranking in this indicator improved from 2008, although it still remains firmly mid table.
The worst performers in residential energy consumption were Luxembourg, Canada, Finland, the United States and Germany. Germany was twelfth in last year’s index but an almost 20% increase in residential energy use has resulted in a poor performance for this sector this year leaving it the fifth worst performer.

Other findings of the index reveal overall renewable energy contributions remain similar to last year and there is no change in the five best performing countries. The UK remains one of the worst performers, although it gained one place, while Korea continues to rank lowest in the sector. The stability in these figures reflects the lead time in investment on renewable energy infrastructure and the effort required to significantly shift the basis of energy generation in a country.