According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the building sector is responsible for around 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As such, it is unsurprising that organisations are heeding the call for sustainable infrastructure and the benefits it brings.
Net-zero buildings will not only help organisations to achieve net-zero GHG by 2050, but they will also drive a host of critical business outcomes, including reduced overhead costs; accelerated digitalisation; enhanced customer, investor and employee engagement; healthier communities; improved comfort; and government compliance.
Organisations shouldn’t have to wait to reap these competitive advantages, so what can they do to fast-track their journey?
Through innovative funding methods and strategic partnerships, facility leaders around the world can take the plunge and win the race to net zero while retaining valuable capital that can be redirected elsewhere.
According to Forrester Research, the business benefits of investing in sustainability are immense, and they’re exponentially advantageous for the most sustainably engaged companies. At the same time, because scaled sustainability is a relatively new concept, most organisations have room to grow in navigating the complexities of measuring and reporting their progress. Having the right leadership, technology and external partners will be key to maturing their sustainability practices.
It is important to select the right external partner, though – one that has a proven track record, blueprints of and benchmarks for delivering this in an organisation’s specific built environment and industry. This partner must be able to leverage the latest digital innovations that unify data silos, while ensuring cybersecurity and delivering advanced artificial intelligence (AI). A partner like this – such as Johnson Controls – should provide end-to-end support, from design to digitalisation to delivery.
No matter where a business is on its journey, our eight-step path provides guaranteed outcomes and risk management models to achieve emissions reduction commitments. The plan is a proven formula for setting companies on the path to net zero. The eight steps comprise:
- Goal setting and advisory services: GHG inventory baseline, cultural and organisation-wide goal and incentive alignment, financial assessment and potential funding solutions
- Safe, secure and healthy implementations: indoor air quality and ventilation solutions, life safety, building and cybersecurity technologies, building code compliance
- Facility-wide digitalisation: energy management information systems, streamlined data acquisition, data-driven building decision-making using predictive, automated, responsive capabilities powered by AI
- Efficient infrastructure: savings and outcome-based energy efficiency programme, deferred maintenance resolution, infrastructure resiliency, electrification solutions, waste management, water conservation
- Sustainable operations: continuous decarbonisation operations management plan, training or staffing future-ready infrastructure experts, sustainable life cycle management, condition-based predictive maintenance
- Distributed energy sources: distributed energy strategy, on-site renewable energy generation and storage, grid interactive services, electric vehicle charging, advanced asset optimisation, demand response services
- Renewable energy supply services: carbon offsets, renewable energy advisory and procurement, renewable finance, development and trading
- Certify and recognise impact: industry-leading certification facilitation, transparent and traceable decarbonisation dashboards, accounting and reporting, brand public relations and communications.
This eight-step plan helped Colorado State University Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo) become the first campus in Colorado, USA, to reach net-zero electricity with solar power. Johnson Controls installed a 23-acre solar farm with battery storage that supplies 12 million kilowatt hours of electricity, providing 100 per cent net solar production for the campus. With this microgrid solution, CSU-Pueblo has locked in its electricity costs for the next 25 years to become a greener, more independent and more resilient campus.
Mark Reinbold is vice president of sustainable infrastructure at Johnson Controls
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.