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To be truly net-zero, buildings must buy 100% renewable energy, global council says

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In a nutshell:

  • A new report from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development states that a building must purchase 100% solar energy and use functional performance data to make facilities management more energy – and cost – effective in order to move from merely net-zero operational status.
  • A change from the recent norm of scheduling maintenance and procurement with “planned preventative checks,” where functional performance receives little to no attention unless there is complete failure, the report stated that achieving net-zero buildings will require strategic monitoring and performance improvement through regular tuning.
  • The difficulties building operators and facility managers are facing as they work to meet difficult regulation requirements and net-zero goals are exacerbated by the lack of uniform measurements for emissions reporting and a ambiguity regarding carbon compliance, according to industry experts.

Obtain Insight:

The net-zero functional carbon buildings report from WBCSD, which was released in November, demands a precise and internationally constant definition of net- zero buildings. According to the international organization, businesses, portfolio owners, and investors who have made business net-zero commitments lack” a single solid credible definition” of what constitutes a online- zero building.

Assigning a higher value to net-zero buildings can draw investments and spur market growth, the report notes, when the market can continuously distinguish between buildings that achieve this status and those that do not.

The market has never decided how to measure carbon compliance, carbon reduction, and other comparable benchmarks, according to Frank Cuomo, public manager at Consolidated Edison, in an interview. Where does it end, exactly? Does the building wall serve as a barrier? Do you keep track of the utility’s fugitive emissions? What do you make of the carbon? He enquired.

“If a building says it’s net-zero, does that mean they are buying enough clean energy to offset their carbon,” Cuomo explained, managing the steam service for the utility provider. Or does this imply that they do n’t produce carbon? What the rules are regarding that are questionable. There are many different terms and nomenclatures that are used, and there is no accepted standard.

According to WBCSD, the definition of a net-zero emissions building depends on the performance of the building as well as the energy infrastructure to which it connects. This change is two-fold in nature.

The demand-side transition entails a building relying solely on its on-site solar energy. That building must significantly lower its energy demand to align with 100 % renewable energy if it wants to be net-zero ready. However, the majority of international buildings do not have the means to achieve this result, according to WBCSD.

Buildings can achieve net-zero operational emissions on the supply side by obtaining 100% renewable energy through a tariff or power purchase agreement that is “demonstrably additional to national renewable obligations,” according to the report. In order to balance remaining emissions, they can also buy carbon offsets that adhere to a recognized international standard. The ISO Net Zero Guidelines, which state that offsets should only be used when there are no other options for reducing emissions, were highlighted by the WBCSD. They also stated that an organization’s net-zero targets should be taken into account just in the offset offset that counterbalances remaining emissions.

Bryan Bennett, CEO of Cortex Sustainability Intelligence, stated that the last climate disclosure rules, which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission anticipates issuing in April 2024, will “add a layer of complexity to what’s on the plates of building engineers and property managers.” The immediate priorities of property managers and facility managers are to meet the demands of tenants and investors, Bennett noted, even as the industry plans to substantially reduce emissions through measures like carbon sequestration. ” We’re discovering that our clients are genuinely committed to achieving their goals in 2024 and 2025.” The majority of our clients have as much of an eye toward net-zero by 2040 or 2050, but that is still a long way off. In 2040 or 2050, some of the people employed by these organizations wo n’t even be there, he claimed. In addition,

According to the WBCSD report, in order for buildings to achieve net-zero emissions, they must obtain facilities management contracts that expressly require and encourage managers to actively monitor operating performance and contribute to achieving and maintaining low-carbon operations.

In the meantime, the Biden Administration has suggested defining a zero-emissions building&nbsp as one that uses only clear energy, abides by strict energy-efficient regulations, and reduces emissions on-site. This suggested definition is anticipated to be made public by the U.S. Department of Energy in January 2024.

“The market can facilitate a lot of solar energy coming website.” According to Brent Trenga, North America director of sustainability at Kingspan, the less it costs at a premium the more it is available online. Owners of “more property” are establishing aggressive Scope 1, 2, and 3 emission targets. Therefore, everything is moving in the right direction because huge owners, lessees, and facilities management groups are under pressure to comprehend and disclose their effects.

Matthew Boyle

Matthew Boyle is a distinguished Smart City Consultant, renowned for his expertise in IoT (Internet of Things) and cutting-edge urban technology solutions. With a deep understanding of Smart City initiatives, Matthew excels in leveraging IoT innovations to transform urban landscapes into efficient, sustainable, and connected environments. His strategic insights and hands-on experience in urban planning, data analytics, and IoT implementation make him a trusted expert in the field. Matthew Boyle is your go-to consultant for navigating the complex world of Smart Cities, ensuring seamless integration of IoT technologies, and unlocking the potential of data-driven urban solutions. With his guidance, your city can thrive in the digital age, enhancing quality of life and fostering a sustainable future.

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