The UK has pledged to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050 at the latest, and by 76% by 2035 (UK government to set in law world’s most ambitious climate change target, cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels) and businesses will have a major role to play in the transition. Successful businesses of the future will need to find a way to create economic value while achieving a fair social contribution that has a positive impact on the natural world.
The next decade will be the most crucial time for dealing with the climate emergency. All businesses will be at different stages of the journey towards achieving Net Zero emissions, but those who make positive moves early will receive the biggest return on their investment. It is a fact that everyone will have to transition to a Zero Carbon world, and it will pay dividends to take steps now rather than be forced into it down the line.
Indeed, the latest news from COP26 is that businesses will be forced to show how they intend to hit their climate targets under new Treasury rules. Speaking at the COP26 climate summit, the Chancellor claimed the UK was leading the world in becoming the “first-ever net zero aligned global financial centre”.
He said the changes would mean: “Better and more consistent climate data; sovereign green bonds; mandatory sustainability disclosures; proper climate risk surveillance; and proper global reporting standards.”
An important way that businesses can cut their carbon footprint quickly and deeply is by looking at how their buildings work and putting in place a viable Net Zero buildings strategy. Here are 5 ways in which you can start supporting your business in its transition to Net Zero Carbon right now.
Metering and monitoring
Metering and monitoring your energy usage properly is a simple and effective step that you can take. Many buildings adhere to a status quo where a building’s various systems are disconnected from each other, meaning that owners have no way of knowing how much energy is being used at varying times of the day, where it is being used, and where savings can be made by eradicating wasted energy.
By installing a smart metering and monitoring system, you can understand your building in fine detail and use that knowledge to cut your energy consumption. By integrating your systems,
installing sensors and using automation, you can achieve control over your energy usage and take a big step towards achieving Net Zero Carbon. It is not unusual to gain saving from a building that is not controlled, to a well-controlled building, of 30% to 40%.
The IBG system uses a technological approach and a digital dashboard to achieve this level of knowledge and control. By installing it in your building – or retrofitting an existing building – you can help to create a more sustainable built environment while cutting your expenditure instantly.
For more information about our Metering and Monitoring solutions, please click here
Install renewable energy
If you own a building, it is likely that you will have option to install renewable energy solutions in some capacity. Whether it is solar PV, a combined heat and power system, heat pumps or another solution, there is a whole range of options available which are relatively simple to install and will provide a long-term return on investment.
The renewable energy produced can feed straight into your building, and if you combine it with battery storage then you will increase your energy security at the same time as reducing your bills. There may also be the possibility of selling excess energy back to the National Grid in some circumstances which will reduce your overheads even further and could even lead to your building becoming carbon negative – making it a more attractive and future-proofed asset.
Choose green energy suppliers
If you cannot install any renewable energy on site, it has never been easier to switch to a green energy provider and use renewable energy generated elsewhere for your buildings instead of old-fashioned, inefficient fossil fuel burning sources.
This has immediate benefits for the environment and will move your building closer towards a Net Zero Carbon future. Using less energy to start with is always preferable – as per the Metering and Monitoring suggestion above – but while that is being installed it is both quick and easy to switch to a green energy supplier in the meantime.
Doing so will also have the benefits down the supply chain. The more sources that use green energy suppliers, the more incentive people have to install renewable energy generation – driving down the cost for everyone and having significantly lower environmental impact.
Make your building ‘smart’
In addition to installing a Metering and Monitoring system that allows you to understand your building’s energy usage, you can go a step further and make your building ‘smart’. This means that you can retrofit your building to keep all the services that occupants need on one integrated network, providing an even greater level of knowledge and control.
The kind of systems you can integrate on the network include:
- Fast Fibre networks
- Lighting control
- HVAC systems
- Fire safety and security systems
- Energy management systems
The data generated, and the subsequent controls that are installed, enable the automation of these processes through a single dashboard which can be accessed on a computer or any mobile device with a browser from the control of heating and ventilation, lighting circuits, air conditioning and even safety and security.
This minimises your costs and reduces the environmental impact of the building over its life by making the building as efficient as possible whilst also reducing operating costs. You will see the benefits straight away, as will the environment as you get closer to a Net Zero Carbon goal.
Creating a smart, Net Zero building is also an important way to ensure that your building does not become a stranded asset. As ESG reporting responsibilities become increasingly important, buildings which cannot demonstrate their environmental credentials are becoming increasingly unattractive to potential buyers. By future-proofing your building with smart technology, you can avoid this.
Find out more about how to make your building ‘smart’ with IBG by clicking here
Consider future risks through thorough ESG reporting
Following on from the previous section, the ESG reporting criteria are a good guide to follow to support your business’s journey to Net Zero Carbon. Put another way, it is not possible to truly future-proof your building without actively looking to the future and considering what might change.
The University of Cambridge’s ‘Strategic Framework for Business Action’ report lays out some simple principles and actions that can guide you in this process, as follows:
- Agree boundaries for the organisation’s net zero ambition.
- Scenario and risk analysis, including physical, transition, liability across all aspects of the business model.
- Opportunities analysis, including competitive advantage from superior performance (e.g. increased access to talent, reduced costs of capital, more resilient supply chain), cost savings due to improved efficiency and potential new revenue streams from ‘green’ innovation.
- Life cycle assessment to inform choices on how to effectively reduce the impacts of products/services across their full life cycles.
- Impact analysis, including understanding the organisation’s carbon footprint and where it has negative impact, which may not translate into a direct business risk, but which needs to be mitigated if we are to achieve global goals.
All of the above are ways in which savvy businesses are acting right now to start reducing their carbon footprint and meeting these challenging Net Zero Carbon targets. While the process will not be easy, one of the biggest steps any business can take is to consider how their buildings are contributing, and look to mitigate that impact on the climate through investing in a technology-led, smart approach.
By accurately monitoring energy use, using smart technologies, installing renewable energy sources and switching to green suppliers, building owners can make immediate cuts to how much energy they use – saving money and future-proofing their portfolio at the same time.
Find out more about how you can make immediate savings by transitioning your buildings ahead of the Net Zero Carbon future today by speaking to the IBG team. Click here for more information