As part of the government’s aim for the United Kingdom to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, all new buildings are required to be net zero carbon by 2030. The construction and building sector has the mission of measuring, reducing, and offsetting carbon emissions in the industry. Then by 2050, all existing buildings in the UK will be net zero carbon too.
This undertaking, in order to combat global climate change, is split into two key phases: the construction phase and then the operational phase. In this blog, we will focus on the operational phase of achieving net-zero carbon.
A verified net-zero carbon building in operation is when the carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or, even better, negative. This requires the building to be highly energy-efficient and powered through either on or off-site renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon being offset.
According to Peter Tse, from the BSRIA (Building Services Research and Information Association), the net-zero framework is a key challenge for the construction industry as it requires us to reassess the way buildings are designed, constructed, and run.
The Operation of a Net Zero Building
The energy used by buildings during its operation must be reduced where possible and any demand must then be met through renewable energy. Any remaining emissions that hinder the building’s verification as net zero can also then be offset.
The operation of a building in the construction industry is classified as the operation of specific parts of a building or built asset such as the lighting, HVAC, etc. as well as its other facilities such as equipment, tools, machinery etc.
For buildings on the mission to achieving net-zero carbon, they will require outstanding levels of energy efficiency alongside zero-carbon electricity and heat supplies.
Key Ways to Achieve Net Zero Carbon in the Operation Phase
You must start first in the construction phase, with plans that will keep energy efficiency in mind, therefore reducing the carbon emissions of the building project in order to begin with a lower starting point from which to offset or support with renewable energy.
Then you must consider which forms of renewable energy would best suit the building and its environment if they are to be installed on-site. If you are to use off-site renewable energy you will have to organise this also, making sure the energy you require in the building can be met.
A net-zero or negative result for your building’s carbon emission can then be achieved through the use of offsets or the export of on-site renewable energy. This means the building will benefit from the avoided carbon emissions from exporting energy to other users.
Sustain Quality are a Team of Sustainability Consultants
At Sustain Quality we want to help organisations like yours achieve net-zero carbon buildings quickly and efficiently. We can help you with saving on energy costs and provide direction during your strides towards creating any sized net-zero buildings.
From finding the electrical energy storage that fits your requirements to determining energy-efficient technologies your building can use, Sustain Quality will be able to pinpoint the best solutions for your organisation.
Some of the assessments that may be used to best establish how you can meet net-zero energy include:
- Energy Assessments
- SBEM Assessments (get your free guide)
- SAP Assessments (get your free guide)
- BREEAM Assessments
- Home Quality Mark
A net-zero building is the first phase to meeting your sustainability objectives. Our dedicated team offers sustainability consulting in London that will facilitate your organisation reduce carbon emissions and meet other green initiatives. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
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Our friendly team of engineers deliver sustainability and compliance solutions for developments in the commercial and residential sectors. We help organisations to maximise the environmental, social and governance (ESG) value of their buildings with a sustainability strategy that can be measured and improved over time.
Contact us at:
Sustain Quality Ltd
PO Box 393