Facility Management: The Key to Achieving Net Zero Emission Targets
Wednesday, August 10th, 2022
Achieving net zero emissions targets is quickly becoming a top priority for many organizations.
While there are many approaches to reaching this goal, Facility Management can play a key role in helping the organization to achieve it.
In this blog post, we will explore how facility management can help your organization reach its net zero emission targets.
What are Net Zero Carbon Emission Targets?
The term “net zero” refers to organizational operations that neither add to nor create greenhouse gases (GHGs). For commercial, industrial and institutional buildings, net-zero emissions mean that the total amount of emissions ( produced by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of emissions offset or avoided.
A Facility Manager’s ability to influence an organization’s net carbon emissions is essential to mitigating climate change. The facility management profession has a unique opportunity to help businesses and organizations achieve net zero carbon emission targets through the application of sustainable facility management practices.
Sustainable facility management is an integrated approach to facility management that considers the environmental, social, and economic impact of facility operations and maintenance. Through the implementation of sustainable facility management practices, businesses can reduce their organization’s net carbon emissions, ultimately helping to slow the effects of climate change.
Why are they important for businesses to achieve?
Many organizations are committed to reducing their facility’s carbon footprint. The benefit of setting a net zero carbon emissions target are innumerable.
First, achieving net zero emission targets sends a strong signal to all stakeholders that the company is committed to addressing climate change. This can help to build trust and confidence in the business.
Second, net-zero targets can help businesses to save money by becoming more energy efficient.
Finally, achieving net zero emissions can help businesses to position themselves as leaders in the fight against climate change.
By setting and achieving ambitious climate goals, businesses can show that they are serious about addressing the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.
How can Facility Managers go about achieving Net Zero targets?
There are a number of Facility Management strategies and practices that can help businesses to achieve their net zero emission targets.
Facility Managers will need to take a comprehensive and strategic approach that includes energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation, and waste reduction.
Some common strategies used to reduce emissions from buildings and businesses include:
Improving energy efficiency: Facility managers can implement energy efficiency measures to reduce the amount of energy consumed by the building. This includes retrofitting the building envelope and HVAC system, installing energy-efficient lighting, and using smart building technology to optimize energy use.
Switching to renewable energy sources: Facility managers can install on-site renewable energy systems, such as solar photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, to generate clean, renewable energy. Alternatively, facility managers can purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset the building’s energy use.
Reducing transportation emissions: Facility managers can encourage the use of clean transportation options, such as electric vehicles, car-sharing programs, and public transit.
Recycling and composting: Facility managers can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by implementing recycling and composting programs.
Regular equipment maintenance: Machinery and equipment that are not properly maintained can be a significant source of emissions. Facility managers can reduce emissions by ensuring that all equipment is regularly serviced and maintained.
Facility managers play a critical role in helping businesses to achieve their net zero emission targets. By implementing sustainable facility management practices, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and help to slow the effects of climate change.
What challenges will be faced when trying to reach Net Zero Emission Targets?
Achieving net zero emissions in the built environment will require a comprehensive approach that takes into account all sources of emissions, including those from heating and cooling, lighting, and appliances.
It will also require a shift to cleaner, more efficient technologies and building materials. Finally, behavior change will be essential to ensuring that buildings are operated in a way that minimizes emissions.
There are many challenges that must be overcome in order to reach this goal. Some of the most important include:
1. Establishing an accurate baseline: Without an accurate starting point, it will be difficult to track progress and measure success. Baseline data should include a comprehensive inventory of all carbon emissions, both direct and indirect.
2. Finding cost-effective solutions: Many carbon reduction strategies come with a high price tag. To be successful, businesses and facility managers will need to find creative ways to reduce emissions without breaking the bank.
3. Engaging occupants in changes to reduce emissions: Facility managers will need to find ways to engage occupants in the effort to reduce emissions. This may include changing building operations, such as implementing energy-saving policies or providing education and incentives for occupant behavior change.
4. Overcoming resistance to change: There is often resistance to change, even when it is in the best interest of the business or organization. Facility managers must be prepared to overcome any resistance and ensure that all stakeholders are on board with the plan to achieve net zero emissions.
5. Tracking progress: It’s important to track progress towards net zero carbon emission targets so that businesses and facility managers can see where they are succeeding and where they need to continue improving. This data can help inform future strategies and ensure that businesses and facility managers are on track to reach their goals.
Achieving net zero emissions in the built environment is a challenge that must be tackled from multiple fronts. However, it is an essential goal if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. With a concerted effort, we can make our buildings part of the solution.
What benefits will businesses and organizations see?
Achieving net zero emissions is an important goal for businesses and organizations.
Here are eight benefits that organizations will see once they have achieved net zero emissions targets:
1. Increased efficiency and productivity
Facility managers who implement sustainable facility management practices will see an increase in efficiency and productivity. This is because sustainable buildings cost less to operate than traditional buildings. Sustainable buildings are more efficient, use less energy and water, and generate less waste.
2. Reduced reliance on fossil fuels
Relying less on fossil fuels reduces exposure to price volatility and helps to achieve energy security. In addition, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, helping to mitigate climate change.
3. New business opportunities
As businesses move towards a low-carbon future, there will be new opportunities for companies that are able to provide sustainable products and services. Achieving net zero emissions can help businesses position themselves to take advantage of these new market opportunities.
4. Improved public image and relations
A net zero emission target sends the message that your company is committed to taking action on climate change. This can improve your business’s reputation and relations with the public. Additionally, it can attract new customers and partners who are looking to work with businesses that share their values.
5. Enhanced brand identity and differentiating factor
Achieving net zero emissions can make your business stand out from competitors who have not made the same commitment. This can help you attract new customers and partners, as well as talent.
5. Leadership role in the fight against climate change
Businesses and organizations that achieve net zero emissions can serve as exemplars. These businesses can show what is possible and inspire others to take action on climate change.
6. Future-proofing against emissions regulations
As emissions regulations become more stringent, organizations that have already achieved net zero status will be well-positioned to comply with new requirements.
7. Improving investor confidence
Investors are increasingly interested in supporting companies that are taking action on climate change. Achieving net zero emissions can give businesses a competitive edge when seeking financing from investors.
8. Mitigating environmental risks
From extreme weather events to sea level rise, the impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. Businesses that take steps to reduce their emissions can help mitigate these risks and protect their operations into the future.
In conclusion, Facility Managers have a huge role to play in achieving net zero emission targets. By optimizing energy use, reducing waste, and choosing low-carbon technologies, FMs can make a significant contribution to reducing GHGs.
In addition, it is important to work with local government and other stakeholders to create an overall strategy. This will involve setting targets, developing policies and measures, and monitoring progress.
With concerted effort, facility managers can play a major role in helping their organization achieve net zero emissions.