Net Zero Buildings: Where to start | News | Procurement Hub

Our Energy Procurement and Consultancy Framework partner Inenco look at what this means going forward.

If the UK is to meet its Government set target of being net zero by 2050 then all organisations already need to be in the process of reducing their emissions. From assessing their product offerings, supply chains, transport and production, all areas within an organisation need to be looked at, including all of the buildings that an organisation uses or manages.

Net Zero Buildings

If the UK is to meet its Government set target of being net zero by 2050 then all organisations already need to be in the process of reducing their emissions. From assessing their product offerings, supply chains, transport and production, all areas within an organisation need to be looked at, including all of the buildings that an organisation uses or manages.

The number of businesses and organisations committed to achieving zero-carbon buildings according to The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) grows year on year as more organisations recognise the need for immediate action this number is promisingly increasing every year. However, the built environment currently contributes 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint alone so reducing this to zero is a huge challenge that needs to be tackled head-on. For many businesses the challenge is often knowing where to start.

What is a Net Zero building?

Before beginning any new project, it important to know where you need to get to. According to the WorldGBC, the definition of a net zero building is “a building that is highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy”. The key to success is finding the perfect balance between the energy being consumed and the energy that is generated through renewable sources.

How does an existing building differ from a brand new one?

Whilst the definition of what a net zero building is clear, there are some differences in the way that this can be measured depending on whether a building already exists or is in the process of being built.

The UKGBC’s net zero carbon buildings framework sets out definitions and principles around two approaches to net zero carbon, which are of equal importance:

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.

For most organisations, focusing on reducing operational energy will be the main task as not all will be looking to build something from scratch, however, if this is something that your business is about to embark on it is worth taking the time to measure the carbon emissions associated in the construction as this will help manage the process of getting it down to zero.

Read more over on the Inenco blog here.  

Our Energy Procurement and Consultancy Framework is designed to help you manage your energy procurement effectively. 

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