Today sees the start of Net Zero Week, the UK’s national climate change awareness week.  The campaign aims to help businesses and consumers radically reduce their carbon emissions to combat the effects of climate change.

Tackling climate change requires everyone to take on their fair share of reducing emissions to stop global warming.

What is Net Zero?

The term Net Zero has been around for quite some time now and it’s the main sustainability goal for some really big organisations,( like BT, AstraZeneca, JD Sports, British Land and many more). But what does it actually mean? 

In short, Net Zero means reducing your carbon output to its lowest level possible. Then, using carbon offsetting* to remove the remaining carbon from the atmosphere to balance emissions to a net zero amount.

*Carbon offsetting is a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. For example, a tree planting project could offset the carbon dioxide emitted by an airline. 

UN Race to Zero

In the UK, 30 of the UK’s FTSE100 companies have signed up to the  UN-backed Race to Zero campaign, which is spearheaded by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Race to Zero is an ambitious target for these businesses to reduce their carbon emissions to Net Zero by 2050. Some of the UK businesses that have signed up to the Race to Zero have gone even further, pledging to achieve Net Zero way before the 2050 target, and extending their promise into their supply chain. Vodafone are a great example – they  have committed to reducing their emissions to Net Zero by 2030, and the emissions of their supply chain to Net Zero by 2040.

What are the challenges that businesses face when trying to achieve Net Zero?

Achieving Net Zero is particularly challenging for customers with diverse multi-site estates.  The mix of different sized premises and the presence of legacy equipment can provide real challenges.  In modern buildings with efficient, well-controlled assets it will be considerably easier to reduce carbon emissions over time, with many of them performing well-enough already. The key task in modern buildings is to keep an eye on any maintenance issues and stay abreast of any changes in building fabric or utilisation patterns that might need some reconfiguration work to be undertaken. For older buildings with ageing infrastructure, Net Zero can be a real headache. 

In order to achieve Net Zero, the visibility of estate-wide energy performance is crucial. It’s also important to react quickly to issues if they occur or even to pre-empt those issues. This is where working with a partner who can monitor very large estates and predict issues through the use of analytics is a game changer.  The proactive monitoring of energy and asset performance can be a crucial tool in ensuring that if a problem occurs, it  is identified and returned to an optimal position quickly.

How can technology from learnd help?

 Imagine you have 2,000 buildings that are all different ages, with different functions, containing different equipment from different manufacturers.. There are two big problems that you are faced with, from a building-management perspective:

Problem 1: How do you connect to all of those disparate systems to collect the data?

Problem 2: How do you aggregate the data to make use of it? 

Using our technology, we can connect to any building management system in the sites. Once connected, our technology can aggregate the data from those systems and pull in data from any other critical building system such as lift management, air quality sensors or occupancy sensors.

Guaranteeing Net Zero

With the connectivity problems sorted and the data aggregation taken care of, we can start to build-up a digital picture of your estate using the data. We will then interrogate this data using the following resources:

  • Building experts in our Remote Operations Centre (ROC) 
  • Experienced field teams 
  • Technology from our labs team 
  • External partners such as relayr and Munich RE 

This process helps us define strategy changes, implement conditional monitoring and suggest upgrades to building technology and fabric – all with a view to collating enough data to guarantee your Net Zero pathway using our unique guaranteed outcomes model.

Other benefits from going Net Zero

Net Zero is just the end goal. But the route to the end goal can provide many other benefits. Some of those benefits are a bit softer and harder to quantify – such as staff and visitor comfort, or standardised environmental conditions across an entire estate. Others are really tangible – such as a reduction in maintenance costs.

 It’s not just the end goal but how you get there that’s important.