Envizi was delighted to co-sponsor the most recent BusinessGreen Leaders Briefing in conjunction with our friends and colleagues at Verco.  The briefing focused on the critical role buildings and infrastructure will play in achieving the UK Government’s commitment to Net Zero.

To accelerate the transition to Net Zero, the following calls to action emerged during the event:

  • We need to define what we mean by Net Zero

In order to hit any target, you first need to understand what that target is! From a built environment perspective, Bruce Precious, Technical Advisory Board Member at Envizi, reminded the audience of the WorldGBC definition of Net Zero: “A net zero carbon building is an energy efficient building, run by renewable energy."

So how are we going to achieve this ambitious target? Envizi and Verco produced the following practical guide for organisations trying to establish how to get started on their journey to Net Zero:

  • The UK needs a robust framework for measuring and benchmarking the performance of buildings in use

In her keynote speech, Jenny Hill – Team Leader, Buildings and Infrastructure from the Committee on Climate Change, highlighted that the UK lacks a simple building rating scheme focused on real world performance. This was a recurring theme throughout the event with a number of speakers and panelists referring to the success of the National Australian Built Environment Rating Scheme (NABERS) in improving the operational efficiency of buildings in Australia. It was agreed that Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) are not meaningful indicators of performance in use and that they have proved a blunt and ineffective instrument in driving energy efficiency improvements.

  • Improving energy efficiency needn’t be expensive nor does it necessarily require new technology

Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO of the Better Buildings Partnership noted that ‘new’ technologies and equipment are not necessarily needed in order to improve the energy efficiency of buildings – there is plenty of opportunity to improve building performance using the technology, systems and data that already exists today For example, building optimisation technologies can leverage data held within your Building Management System (BMS) to identify fault pieces of equipment and inefficient building control strategies that result in energy wastage.

Whilst there was no doubt amongst event attendees as to the magnitude of the task ahead, there was cautious optimism that, with swift and decisive action, the built environment can play its part in achieving the UK Government’s 2050 Net Zero target.