From the Green Homes Grant, The Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the Government has put plenty of emphasis on making domestic properties energy efficient. As Sun Microsystems reports, energy consumption in offices is nearly twice as high as at home. So what are businesses doing to make sure their offices, both new and old, to help the UK in building a net zero future?
Leading the way
The Co-op’s brand-new Manchester headquarters is a fine example of a business consciously striving to become net-zero. This is for the sake of both the planet and their own finances. One Angel Square’s inception dates as far back as 2010 when building work began. This proves they had their finger on the eco-pulse way before many other big businesses.
The office accommodates 3,000 staff, has a combined heat and power plant. It can provide its own energy, and features a smart-thinking grey and rainwater recycling system for toilet flushes and irrigation. As a result, Co-op saves 40-60% on their previous energy bills.
Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and for the last six years has been powered with 100% renewable electricity. That includes its London headquarters, which was the world’s first building to receive a Zero Carbon certification.
Meanwhile, Lush has committed to being carbon neutral, from the operations of their Dorset HQ. Including packaging and materials used as well as ambitious plans for its supply chain to follow suit too.
In doing so, these companies are reaping the many benefits and building a net zero future. With reduced costs and improved public perception the planet benefits alongside them.
Of course, building swish new net-zero offices isn’t a viable solution for every business, which is why there is a growing trend for retrofitting and offsetting carbon footprints. In fact, it’s believed that retrofitting offices can cut carbon emissions by 50% or more.
New technologies make retrofitting easier than ever before, and the cost savings made are a great incentive. Deloitte’s annual Crane Survey of new developments nationwide found that in 2021 refurbishments were up 14% and account for a record 91% of all new starts, as businesses push to minimise their carbon contributions.
However, much of the current Governmental support centres around advice rather than financial support or incentives, which are often the triggers for companies to change suit.
The Crane Survey, however, found issues even in that. Two-thirds of developers they spoke to highlighted a lack of clarity of what net zero means and the measures set out to achieve those targets, which is holding back progress.
According to Energy Monitor, only 29% of UK businesses have committed to net zero as of January 2022. The research also revealed that businesses cite needing more investment (40%) and Governmental support (39%) before committing to net zero plans. Couple that with the comments from Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee that Government still has “no clear plan for how the transition to net zero will be funded” and there are clear roadblocks on the path to being net zero by 2050.
The government’s emphasis has been placed on making our homes energy efficient, with financial incentives for installing solar panels and heat pumps, now it feels like those initiatives should be translated to commercial properties too, with greater clarity and incentives to encourage more businesses to push for a net zero agenda.
Phil Weller, account executive