Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.
Carbon Neutral District refers to an area, where buildings do not cause net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. During a certain period, the district may be a net GHG emitter, but during another period it can be a net supplier of carbon neutral energy, thus being net carbon neutral e.g. within a timeframe of one year.
Carbon neutrality can be achieved by enhancing energy efficiency of the buildings as well as purchasing the remaining energy need from carbon neutral sources.
A district can be supplied with bio-energy based district heating, delivered by an energy company. Electricity can be purchased from a renewable energy based power plant outside the area, or the owners or users of the buildings can even invest in renewable power generation facilities in another geographical area.
The approach should not be restricted to onsite generation only.
City planning, construction and operation as well as maintenance of buildings and districts are key areas of improvement, when reducing GHG emissions.
Assam government has initiated a project to make river island Majuli is the country’s first ever Carbon Neutral district by 2020. The project has been initiated to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.