17th July 2020
The drive to achieve environmental sustainability is changing what communities, governments and customers expect of businesses. To transparently demonstrate their commitment to decarbonisation, businesses are increasingly expected to not only share their compliance, but to proactively document their vision and strategy for a sustainable future.
With the operation of buildings accounting for around 30% of total UK emissions, the property sector has an opportunity to not only innovate to tackle its carbon footprint, but to make Net Zero Carbon mainstream, whilst still delivering value for money to tenants.
Decarbonising the property sector can deliver benefits beyond the obvious goal of reducing our impact on climate change.
Sustainable choices can improve comfort, well-being and productivity, which can all help contribute to a high level of occupant satisfaction.
The value delivered to occupants by reducing and optimising the overall energy spend improves valuation and can translate into higher rental income and improved brand equity.
Energy savings produce cost savings, which can be reinvested in further decarbonisation work to create a virtuous circle of funding to invest in the next stage on the sustainability journey.
One way to release equity to start the sustainability journey is to carry out a forensic audit on utility bills to identify whether historical overcharges have occurred and, if so, to recover these overpayments.
Whilst the benefits of achieving net zero are clear to see, getting there can sometimes appear complicated but with a clear strategy in place, the path to net zero can be a less daunting one.
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) defines what achieving net zero carbon emissions means in terms of two approaches:
For a building’s construction, the net zero definition provided is “when the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative, through the use of offsets or the net export of on-site renewable energy.”
For a building’s operational energy, it is “when the amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or negative”. A net zero carbon building is “highly energy efficient and powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon balance offset.”
For many property organisations, achieving operational net zero will be the goal that they see as their main priority when they define their sustainability strategy.
Reaching operational net zero needs to be embedded within the organisations medium to long-term strategy. Many operational decisions will have an impact on a buildings carbon output and therefore, a system of continual measurement, optimisation and validation is the foundation on which net zero can be achieved.
Bringing an integrated approach rooted in analysis, optimisation, engineering and procurement, Inenco helps organisations take a data-driven approach to sustainability from insight, to implementation, to impact. For more information, contact us on 08451 46 36 26.