David Fairhurst, Energy & Sustainability Manager, recently spoke to HVAC Informed about our carbon net zero agenda. He shared why it is vital to consider the footprint of commercial buildings, and how owners and operators can approach decarbonisation.
The Decarbonisation Of Commercial Buildings: What You Need To Know
Net-zero is high up on the agenda. And to achieve the UK’s carbon-neutral pledge by 2050 the country’s building stock must be decarbonised.
When we talk about decarbonising buildings, there are two distinct categories of emissions that come into play. The first is embodied carbon. Here, the embodied carbon of a building includes emissions deriving from the construction materials, the building process, and the fixtures and fittings inside. It also covers emissions from deconstructing and disposing of materials at the end of life. These activities account for 11% of all carbon emissions.
However, the second category of carbon emissions, operational carbon, is responsible for 28% of carbon emissions. Operational carbon relates to the amount of carbon emitted during the in-use phase of a building. Given that around 80% of buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built, all net zero strategies must factor in making our current stock more sustainable.
For example, there are 1,656,000 non-domestic buildings in England and Wales which account for around 24% of building stock emissions – if we are to reach net zero by 2050, we simply must decarbonise the current stock of public and commercial buildings.
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