Our new Net Zero Carbon service.

Limiting the impact of climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Many governments, local authorities and businesses, including ourselves, have declared climate emergencies. For those serious about being part of a positive climate-conscious revolution, the time to act is now.

In light of our own commitment to the climate emergency declaration – and in anticipation of industry trends – in March we launched a ‘Net Zero Carbon’ service for our clients.

What does this involve?

We’re aware that our clients are keen to achieve net zero carbon, but they may not know how to get there or what’s involved. We are already helping many clients with this process; in fact, we’re on the steering group for the UKGBC’s ‘Advancing Net Zero’ programme and have helped develop their Zero Carbon framework.

Achieving net zero carbon is a complex endeavour. We will aim to work with clients to ensure that any building, wider development or even an entire portfolio of real estate achieves net zero carbon.

Our offering will be targeted differently depending on the client (for instance a CFO of a global consultancy has different priorities to a building Facilities Manager).

What should we measure?

Responsibility for greenhouse gas reporting spans three emission types. Many organisations have already begun to assess their scope 1 and 2 emissions as part of a zero carbon commitment, but some larger businesses are also assessing scope 3 emissions as part of a full reporting strategy.

Direct (scope 1): Emissions resulting from activities under the direct control of your organisation, such as gas boiler emissions, fleet vehicle emissions and on-site refrigerant leakage.

Indirect (scope 2): Emissions arising from energy purchased by your organisation for its operations, such as power or district heating.

Secondary indirect (scope 3): Emissions arising from associated activities not directly controlled by your organisation, such as leased assets, procurement of equipment, employee commuting, water use, and waste management.

Whole-life carbon.

There’s a lot to consider when assessing and reporting the carbon associated with a building. ‘Whole-life’ carbon has to take into account both ‘embodied’ carbon and ‘operational’ carbon:

Embodied carbon During the lifetime of a building, embodied carbon emissions arise from the initial construction and in-use refurbishments and material replacements. The structure is normally the dominant element of embodied carbon, due to the volume and nature of the materials, with the building envelope, services, and interior fit-out making up the remainder.

Operational carbon Operational carbon emissions are those associated with the in-use operation of a building or estate. This usually includes carbon emissions associated with heating, hot water, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems, as well as those associated with cooking, equipment, and lifts.

Our 5-step solution.

ONE Assess: energy and carbon baseline. Evaluate the baseline energy/carbon performance. This applies to the design for a new building, or the operation of an entire estate, portfolio of assets or single existing building.

TWO Reduce: optimisation & upgrade. Assess a range of measures to reduce energy demand, including optimising the building fabric, building systems and controls.

THREE Generate: onsite options. Establish how much energy can be generated onsite from renewable sources.

FOUR Source: offsite options. Investigate sourcing electricity from the grid via a renewable energy contract or directly procure an offsite renewable energy supply. FIVE Offset: displace remaining. Investigate carbon offsets, such as afforestation / local carbon displacement projects.

Our climate commitment.

As one of the first signatories of the 2019 Building Services Engineers Declare initiative, we’re proud of this service and can’t wait to get stuck in with clients to achieve truly sustainable developments. We even managed to get an editorial feature in The Times’ sustainable business supplement.

Would you like to know more?

If you’d like to find out more, you can read our Net Zero Carbon guide for clients, or get in touch with Ashley Bateson, James Ford, or Eimear Moloney.