Top Tips to Tackling carbon through effective building strategies
Tackling carbon emissions has become a pressing concern in recent years, and building maintenance professionals have a crucial role to play in mitigating their impact on the environment. This article explores various strategies that can be employed to reduce carbon emissions through smart, effective, and sustainable maintenance practices. By understanding the difference between embodied and operational carbon, developing a sustainability plan, optimising equipment performance, implementing energy-efficient practices, embracing the circular economy, and reducing energy usage, building maintenance professionals can significantly contribute to carbon reduction efforts.
Understanding Embodied and Operational Carbon
To effectively reduce carbon emissions, it is important to differentiate between embodied and operational carbon. Embodied carbon refers to the CO2 emitted during the production of a building, including the extraction and transportation of materials. Operational carbon, on the other hand, is the carbon released from the ongoing operation of the building, such as energy consumption for lighting, heating, and ventilation. While initiatives like improving insulation and using energy-efficient alternatives are effective in reducing operational carbon, they often contribute to embodied carbon. Thus, reducing embodied carbon through sustainable construction practices during the planning and design stages is crucial.
Strategies for Carbon Emission Reduction
- Conduct a carbon footprint assessment: A thorough assessment helps establish a baseline of current emissions, identify high-impact areas, and determine mitigation priorities. Key areas of focus may include HVAC systems, lighting, office equipment, refrigeration, and building fabric.
- Develop a sustainability plan: Building maintenance professionals should create a plan with measurable goals to reduce carbon footprints. This may involve upgrading systems or equipment, adjusting maintenance techniques, or reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
- Optimize equipment performance: Regular maintenance improves equipment efficiency, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Preventive maintenance has been shown to save up to 18% in energy costs.
- Implement energy-efficient practices: Evaluate options such as upgrading HVAC equipment, replacing light fixtures with LEDs, and enhancing building insulation to reduce energy consumption and associated emissions.
Embracing the Circular Economy
The circular economy, focused on minimizing waste and promoting sustainability, can be integrated into building maintenance practices. By adopting circular economy principles, such as refurbishing, repairing, and repurposing existing assets, maintenance professionals can reduce carbon emissions by minimizing waste and preserving resources. Efficient maintenance enables the extension of a building's lifespan, lowering the need for new construction and associated carbon emissions. Reducing material consumption, prolonging building lifespan, and choosing sustainable materials contribute to lower embodied carbon in maintenance processes.
Reducing Energy Usage
Efficient maintenance significantly affects energy usage in buildings. Strategies for energy reduction include ensuring optimal equipment performance, improving energy efficiency through maintenance practices, maintaining building fabric, incorporating smart technologies, and conducting regular energy audits. Proper maintenance minimizes equipment inefficiencies, reduces heating and cooling loads, improves control over energy usage patterns, and enhances insulation to prevent heat loss. Implementing energy-saving measures based on energy audits and data analysis provides a roadmap for maintenance teams to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency.
Download your full copy of our Tackling carbon through effective building strategies Guide and start your journey to reducing your carbon footprint. To learn more about SFG20 and see how it can help you with your maintenance responsibilities, why not book a demo today or give us a call on 01768 807504.