Net Zero 14th February 2020 Carbon Reduction

Achieving Net Zero in commercial property is an unwavering focus for everyone at Workman. We are dedicated to helping our clients reduce their carbon emissions.

The UK property industry can’t take full responsibility for what is now generally accepted as an international emergency. Yet I think there is a wide acceptance that our industry must focus on achieving net carbon emissions. We have a very urgent and fundamental responsibility to find net zero alternatives and we must act now for the sake of, bluntly, survival.

At Workman, we are in a privileged position to play a central role in this journey and we have been preparing for the challenge that our industry now faces. We feel we’re in an ideal spot to assist clients with our specialist combined knowledge of property management and building consultancy. For more information on how we can help you create a Net Zero framework for your assets, click here.

Press coverage for Net Zero real estate

The general rhetoric and press coverage on low carbon and net zero in property has grown significantly in the last few years. Particularly in the last few months. However, targets remain for organisations (with the possible exception of CRC and MEES, both of which had limited genuine impact).

Now for the first time, we have a real target – Net Zero Carbon by 2050.

Whilst there is an argument to say 2050 is too long, it is the first time we have something concrete to work to – and we have to start somewhere.

It is going to be a huge challenge but the urgency around the need for this means we need to absolutely embrace this target and run with it… fast!

In the words of Sir David Attenborough:

“The moment of (the) climate crisis has come.”

Additionally, as he points out to BBC News:

“South-East Australia is on fire. Why? Because the temperatures of the Earth are increasing.”

What does Net Zero real estate mean to Workman?

Reducing carbon emissions and creating carbon neutral buildings will hurt across the industry.

There are no shortcuts (we don’t believe that off-setting is a viable long-term option). Moreover, it will fundamentally affect the way in which you manage and operate a building.

Indeed, it will also cost.

Perhaps the headline for this is that gas has to go. This will obviously require both significant planning and upgrades. Major energy efficiency initiatives and onsite generation opportunities will need considering in each and every refurbishment undertaken from now on if we are to achieve Net Zero.

In reality, if you miss the next major refurbishment or retrofit, there won’t be a second chance to create Net Zero buildings in the next 30 years.

New industry skills to achieve Net Zero

A new level of onsite skill and M&E expertise is required to manage assets to their absolute efficiency. New procurement strategies are also necessary and a very definite and embedded engagement of all stakeholders. Thus, we can ensure we take every opportunity to maintain performance.

A call to arms – and we’re ready for Net Zero

In short, achieving Net Zero is a team effort (and for team read the whole industry, working together, as one). Potentially one that goes against the traditional goals of achieving best (financial) value or outperforming competitors.

This is a different layer of value and possibly the highest value to attribute to anything… long-term survival.

We know that a large number of our clients are ready to reduce their carbon emissions too as they sign up to the BBP’s Climate Change Commitment. Partnerships such as these are absolutely key to the long-term results that we need.

Vicky Cotton, Sustainability & Wellbeing Director