The ambitions of becoming ‘Net Zero’ have evolved from the concept to businesses and institutions worldwide declaring their successes or their commitments to achieving this. Low Carbon Alliance has aligned its own Net Zero Philosophy with that of the UK Green Building Council who have provided the following framework definitions for buildings:
Net zero carbon – construction (1.1):
‘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’.
Net zero carbon – operational energy (1.2):
“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.”
Achieving Net Zero Carbon Buildings
The Low Carbon Alliance framework set out below is intended as a first step towards delivering sustainable objectives that are in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement – namely net zero carbon across buildings. The framework presented here refers to in-use operational energy which should be adopted by any organisation that is serious about reducing the impact of climate change.
LCA has a series of tools and services to help our clients develop a strategy and delivery programme that sets and follows a pathway to Net Zero. Implementing a net zero strategy will mitigate the risk of assets falling foul of compliance as regulations on emissions increase in scope and targets.
1: Monitor and Measure energy-use in real-time on an overall portfolio and individual asset level
Understand where and when energy is being used in real-time. Our energy management platform will collect and analyse your data and deliver this in a clear and simple format.
- Your energy intensity (kWh/m2) will be displayed for each asset and across the whole portfolio to help agree your target value.
- Benchmark your buildings against others.
- Create energy and carbon reports for legislation compliance such as SECR and ESOS and complete Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) surveys.
- Create an ‘Energy Policy’ for your assets based on your target energy intensity
- Engage with tenants to get buy-in, and build targets. Ensure future compliance through green lease clauses.
2: Identify how to reduce operational energy use now and in the future
Building a dynamic model of key assets to measure the impact and cost of mitigation measures, and identify a pathway to meet increasing legislative performance targets.
- Creating a structure to ensure Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) Programmes is integral to the evolution of the estate’s efficiency rating
- Identify areas of waste such as poor energy management, poor control settings etc
- Deploy energy efficiency measures and track the impact and verify returns in line with IPMVP.
- Use the dynamic model to evaluate the energy/environmental impact of tenant fit-out works to the overall buildings rating and ensure compliance with the property’s energy policy targets
- Create a green fit-out standard with tighter control measures to protect/enhance the buildings efficiency rating and ensure continued performance
- When buildings are bought or sold due diligence should include identifying a property’s net zero pathway and the cost of compliance, to avoid acquiring properties with costly energy up-grades.
- Model the impact of future light and deep refurbishments
- Support tenants reduce emissions by installing Electric Vehicle charging points reducing Scope 3 emissions”
3: Increase on-site renewable energy generation and supply
On-site renewable energy generation of electricity and heat should be optimised as far as practically possible through the application of solar PV and heat pumps.
Procure renewable energy from off-site renewables either through private wire arrangements or Corporate Power Purchase Agreements with renewable energy generators
4: Offset any remaining carbon
Investment in carbon offsetting projects in the relevant jurisdiction, i.e same country as the Property asset through a recognised offsetting framework.