In the ongoing effort to combat climate change and achieve net-zero emissions, organisations are increasingly focusing on decarbonising their estates. However, several obstacles stand in the way of attaining these ambitious goals.
Last year, we launched our Decarbonise Today service to reduce carbon footprint across our customer’s estates. Through this service, we are working in partnership with our customers to simplify the decarbonisation process. By understanding our customer’s estate and decarbonisation plans, we can help to design and deliver a realistic and actionable plan to implement.
Recently, we hosted a decarbonisation roundtable with our customers and consultants to delve into the key challenges and blockers they encounter while decarbonising their estate. The meeting yielded insightful discussions and innovative solutions, emphasising the importance of collaboration, embracing technology, and fostering a culture of continuous learning.
Breaking Down Silos: The Importance of Team Collaboration
One major challenge faced by businesses in their pursuit of net-zero is the lack of collaboration among teams within the same organisation. Often, individuals retain crucial knowledge in their heads, leading to a lack of continuity when they move on to new roles. Additionally, interdepartmental communication and information sharing are hampered, hindering progress towards shared sustainability goals.
To address this, it is essential to promote open communication and encourage teams to work together, sharing information, budgets, and strategies for collective success.
Embracing Technology and Overcoming Fear of Innovation
The fear of trying new technologies can be a significant blocker to achieving net-zero targets. Some local authorities hesitate to make decisions that may invite criticism or lead to financial wastage. Instead, they prefer to observe other organisations’ experiences before adopting innovations themselves.
To overcome this reluctance, it is vital to highlight the potential benefits of technologies like digital twins, Building Information Modelling (BIM), and digitalised Building Management Systems (BMS). By embracing these advancements, companies can unlock new levels of effectiveness and efficiency, making the transition to sustainability more achievable.
Addressing Budget Constraints and Prioritising Long-term Value
Insufficient funding remains a persistent challenge in the quest for net-zero. The perpetual debate between Capital Expenditure (Capex) and Operational Expenditure (Opex) often hinders progress. Businesses must recognise the long-term value of investing more upfront to achieve substantial savings in the future.
To tackle this, estate and facilities management teams must work collaboratively to advocate for and allocate adequate budgets to support sustainable initiatives.
The Importance of Baseline Data for Effective Decarbonisation
Before embarking on a decarbonisation journey, gathering baseline data on energy consumption is crucial. Understanding how buildings perform and identifying areas for improvement is essential for formulating effective sustainability strategies.
With reliable baseline data in hand, organisations can make informed decisions and prioritize energy-efficient measures, facilitating a smoother transition to a greener future.
Navigating Heritage and Planning Constraints
Historic buildings and stringent planning regulations pose unique challenges. Altering the fabric of listed buildings often faces resistance from planning authorities and Historic England.
To overcome these hurdles, collaboration with heritage organisations and stakeholders is necessary to find innovative solutions that preserve the historical value while incorporating sustainable practices.
Promoting Education and Behavioural Change
Education plays a vital role in driving behavioural change among individuals and businesses. Just as we turn off lights at home to save energy, fostering a culture of energy-consciousness in the workplace can have a significant impact. Providing employees with information on the implications of their actions and how small changes can contribute to a more sustainable future will encourage responsible energy usage.
Learning from Post-Occupancy Feedback: A Path to Continuous Improvement
To enhance future sustainability achievements, projects should be revisited post-occupancy. By evaluating whether the design intent aligns with practices, valuable insights can be gained. Sharing lessons learned among the project team enables everyone involved to learn from past experiences and make informed decisions in future designs, ultimately paving the way for more energy-efficient solutions.
We would like to thank everyone who has attended one of our decarbonisation roundtables so far, and look forward to seeing many of you in the future.
To learn more about our decarbonisation service, click here.