CDP – Silver Climate Change Consultancy Partners

Carbon Credentials is pleased to announce a new science-based targets partnership with CDP.

CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, runs the global disclosure system for investorscompaniescitiesstates and regions to manage their environmental impacts.

The global reach of  CDP means that it has the most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world. We are proud that Carbon Credentials will continue to be a CDP silver climate change consultancy partner, and we are the first science-based targets partner to CDP in the UK.  Our status as an accredited SBT partner to CDP recognises the high standard of our work  in helping clients set science-based targets and develop strategies to achieve those targets.

Setting a science-based target allows a company to determine the level of carbon reductions that they need to achieve to limit the impact of global warming.  The benefits of target setting include reducing costs through increased efficiency, strengthening reputation within the industry, and creating further opportunities for business growth and development.

“We are delighted to have Carbon Credentials on board as our first science-based targets partner in the UK. With experience helping a number of large and complex organisations across a variety of sectors to set science-based targets, we are confident that their expertise will be of great benefit to companies looking to set science-based targets.”
– Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science-Based Targets at CDP.

In 2017 Carbon Credentials helped the following companies achieve an A-Grade rating with CDP: Keller, Jupiter Fund Management, British American Tobacco and British American Tobacco Water, Prudential, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Taylor Wimpey Water, Segro, Communisis, ISG, and 3i.

“We are looking forward to the next CDP reporting cycle to help maintain our clients A-Grade status and are happy to work with new clients in setting their targets to achieve similar results.”
-Paul Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at Carbon Credentials.

If you would like to find out more about setting science-based targets and demonstrating your commitment to reducing emissions, please download the infographic on our website.

Contact Us

If you would like to find out how we might be able to leverage our expertise to support your company in setting science-based targets please contact emma.watson@carboncredentials.com

Increasing attention being placed on ESG performance for Infrastructure

Carbon Credentials attended the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) European Infrastructure Results 2018 event on Tuesday, hosted by Macquarie Bank.

What is GRESB?

GRESB assesses the sustainability performance of real estate and infrastructure portfolios and assets worldwide. As a consultancy we have a depth of expertise in supporting real estate clients and those with real assets to submit to this global benchmark, and applaud the ability it has to drive sector improvements in sustainability.

GRESB has three separate assessments covering Real Estate, Debt and Infrastructure.

The Real Estate assessment results were released last month (see here for our blog) and are followed this month by the Infrastructure assessment results release. The Infrastructure assessment is still in its relative infancy, 2018 marking its third year, but is growing rapidly.

Strong growth in GRESB Infrastructure assessment participation this year

An increasing focus on ESG in infrastructure

The focus on ESG for infrastructure has been steadily rising in response to regulatory changes, the development of frameworks such as TCFD (Task-Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures), an increasing awareness of pressures from society and the need for long-term risk management for improved climate resilience. Rick Walters, Director of Infrastructure at GRESB, noted that much is yet to be done to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and infrastructure plays a key role in bridging this gap. Therefore, it may be of no surprise that 2018 saw a 75% increase in total assets reporting to the GRESB Infrastructure assessment, Real Estate’s lesser-known little cousin.

Key 2018 Insights from the Infrastructure assessment

  • Australia and North America leading globally
  • Europe experienced a large intake of new participants
  • Investors are now looking for full participation (including assets) rather than simply fund-level reporting
  • 75% of participating funds had some kind of sustainable investment objective
    • Most participants either integrate sustainable investment objectives into their company strategy, review ESG/sustainable investment policies or report and disclose on ESG issues
  • Funds are improving transparency on ESG issues, but not improving the performance of their assets
    • While funds may be improving their disclosure through reporting, there has not been a significant improvement in their actual asset performance
    • Assets, on average, improved year on year but this was not significant
  • On average there has been a more balanced approach to environmental, social and governance issues compared to last year
  • Materiality-based scoring was introduced for the first time this year
    • This meant a reduction in penalisation (as previously entities were being scored on perhaps immaterial issues) and therefore improved scores
  • The assessment is being trialled in the listed infrastructure space with GLIO (Global Listed Infrastructure Organisation)
    • The first phase of a pilot study has begun and is expected to grow faster than that of real estate

Australia and North America leading the pack on average, whilst Europe suffered this year due to a large uptake in number of respondents

Recommendations for improvements

  • There needs to be a stronger focus on increasing asset-level scores
  • Funds should ensure they have set improvement targets
  • These targets should be material, and more importantly, achieved (a surprisingly high proportion of targets were not achieved)
  • A large number of entities are reporting and acknowledging issues that are not relevant to their core business, therefore focus should be placed on material issues rather than wasting time.

What do we expect for 2019 and beyond?

We’re observing and engaging with the infrastructure space with an excited anticipation here at Carbon Credentials as funds turn increasing attention to improving the sustainability credentials of their infrastructure investments, following in the footsteps of real estate.

We expect this assessment to grow in participants once again next year and eagerly await the sector improvements this will bring with it.

Where’s the opportunity?

Infrastructure lags behind the real estate sector in terms of ESG performance and disclosure currently. Therefore an opportunity exists to demonstrate leadership by doubling down on efforts to improve the sustainability credentials of infrastructure investments before it catches up with real estate… which we don’t expect to take very long.

Contact us

If you are in the infrastructure space and you’d like to understand more about how we might be able to leverage our expertise to support you in your endeavours, please contact sam.carson@carboncredentials.com or Francesca.wiley@carboncredentials.com.

Evidence Based Targets: The sustainability Journey

Welcome to the first blog in our series with Paul Lewis CEO of Carbon Credentials.

Paul will be conducting several interviews with leaders in this space to find out what their plans are to tackle climate change and carbon reporting. We spoke to John Garwood- Managing Director and Group Company Secretary of Canary Wharf Group.

In the context of Canary Wharf Group as a whole, what are the priorities are for the organisation?
We’ve been on a journey in terms of sustainability. The landscape of sustainability and the corporate landscape has changed quite dramatically over the last five or ten years. We have come from a place where sustainability was almost a bolt-on extra but is now something which people expect to be embedded into the corporate culture.

As we work with our clients to develop bespoke buildings we have noticed that they’ve become much more demanding about what they want from a sustainability perspective. A few years ago, we were suggesting things to clients, but now we find that they are coming to us and asking, ‘are we going to have this?’, ‘can we have that?’ So, I think what we do has changed and what we offer has had to change to reflect that, and that’s been a big cultural shift.

Could you add any specifics about what those clients are interested in?
It’s a question of being able to create the right environments. We give them options to improve their building. If you go back and tell them they can have an environment in which their staff will be even more productive, you can almost see their ears prick up. They are more interested in having an efficient environment in which people could work more rather than just trying to squeeze more people in.

The real expenses are people and head count and if you could make them perform more efficiently because they’re in an environment that is well controlled, they’re much more interested. Buildings themselves don’t need heating because they generate so much heat internally so it’s about cooling, getting it out really. But they are also interested in reusing that heat. So how can you reuse that heat can use it in other ways? We’re looking at different ways of providing systems which will allow heat to be reused.

I think that from the journey we’re on with you, we’ve come to understand a lot about your aspirations, your starting point and where you’re looking to get to. Could you summarise where you see Canary Wharf group going towards that sustainability level?
We’re moving to a point where we want to be seen to be in the vanguard of sustainability and I think in the past we have done a lot, but we hadn’t really communicated effectively. We are keen to be seen leading the way rather than just following the way, that is one of the reasons why we’re looking at science-based targets. We’ve really got to get on and become involved with science-based targets and there is also peer group pressure which is important. I wouldn’t underestimate that in a commercial environment. And it’s not just us as providers of the buildings. The tenants know that they want to be able to say they are in one of the most sustainable buildings in London. I think peer group pressure is a positive factor.

My hobbyhorse on this is valuations because valuations on buildings don’t really reflect sustainability. I think the big swing point would be if the valuation of the building directly considered sustainability issues. If sustainability impacted more directly on the gross asset value that would be a major impact on the real estate industry. Then you really could put pressure to incorporate sustainability features into buildings because it would be a direct feed through to the bottom line.

We’re seeing quite a lot of effort towards trying to create that mechanism where there is a direct relationship between sustainability and asset value. Have you had any thoughts as to how your personal view could manifest itself at Canary Wharf?
It would be difficult for us to be in the vanguard if it meant that our buildings were uneconomic. Somehow you must align the commerciality with sustainability and if there’s a dislocation between the two, either way then it won’t be right. I think that’s one of the most difficult things for developers now.

There is a very strong relationship between sustainability work and how you can improve your bottom line. Is that something that you were able to evidence linking back to work we have done with you on the science-based targets?
I prefer the phrase evidence-based targets rather than science-based targets. To me it’s a broader perspective than science. That is quite critical because we need to be able to show progress. As a group we thought we did quite a lot, but I think we struggled to prove it, that’s why I think evidence-based targets are important. If we have evidence, we can prove that to other people.

Are there any other ways evidence-based targets will benefit you as an organisation?
Employees feel pretty committed to Canary Wharf Group but what we create drives loyalty. Staff feel motivated knowing what we’re producing is a good thing. The sustainability and the nature of their environment is much more important to graduates than people of my generation. If you’re going to produce something that is attractive to the next generation of occupiers, you must try to show how your building is better than another building. And I think that’s part of the evidence-based process.

Do you feel you have a role to play in influencing your tenants in terms of their sustainability journey?
I do, we do try. We have a tenant’s forum and the idea is that we all meet to discuss environmental best practice and we get speakers to talk about that. We try and exchange ideas between ourselves. I think we should do more to try and attract more senior involvement and engagement with the process.

With leadership in mind, the target is nothing without the execution. How do you see your plans and foundations for execution and delivery of those sustainability aspirations that you are building?
We’ve made great strides. We still have a way to go and I think the crunch point comes in on implementation We can l all theorise as much as we like but when it comes to implementation there will be a cost to doing something and that is the moment when the commercial/sustainable balance has to be struck.

When I first engaged with the science-based targets, I was a sceptic. How can we have a target that stretches out 10- 30 years, but I do recognise that you must be able to show progress from where you were and that you have got a plan of where you want to get to.

I understand your point, our findings with you, and elsewhere have been very much around the data. And that the underlying data allows you to build that evidence base and create the business case and make those investment decisions. Do you see that data as part of that journey for you?
We must be able to build a business case around what we’re doing. Otherwise we won’t get it done, so that’s why the evidence basing is so important because we must have some sort of case we can present to make sure that it’s viable. We make presentations to prospective tenants and we are now using sustainability as one of the levers to get people interested in Canary Wharf. That didn’t happen a few years ago.

What are your key objectives? For sustainability and energy and environmental performance in general.
The number one target for me is to get fully on-board and implement evidence based targets. We’re at decision point and we’re now moving towards implementation. So, I think for us that’s going to be a big moment this year where we move from the theoretical to implementation.

“If we’re doing a tender for a big development in London, we absolutely have to prove our sustainability credentials to have any hope of being successful in that tender exercise. That is why the evidence basing is again, is so important because we can show our credentials externally. These tenders are important to the future of the company and the sustainability is becoming a core message as part of that exercise.” John Garwood- Managing Director and Group Company Secretary of Canary Wharf Group.

Navigating the new world of Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting

On 18 July 2018, the government announced the outcome of the public consultation on SECR.  Organisations were seeking clarity on what to do and what to expect, as a result, we held a live webinar.

SECR is part of a package of changes announced by the government which aims to reduce the burden of the current suite of reporting requirements while further incentivising energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. If your organisation is a UK registered quoted or large unquoted company or LLP, SECR will apply to you.

If you would like to know when reporting will need to be done, who will qualify and how this should be done, we have a recording of the webinar and the accompanying slides available on this page here.

A large number of good questions came out of the discussion and we were not able to answer all of them during the webinar, so we have responded to them below. If you still have questions and would like to speak to us, do not hesitate to get in touch.

If a University isn’t required to partake in ESOS does this mean that they’re exempt from SECR?

  • All organisations (including universities) which meet the SECR qualification criteria will have to comply.
  • The SECR qualification criteria are not the same as ESOS qualification criteria. ESOS is unaffected by SECR. They are separate regulations and you may qualify for one and not the other. If you qualify for both, you must comply with both, but you may use information collected for ESOS to inform any energy efficiency action reported for SECR.

If reporting is through the Directors’ report in the Annual Report – how will BEIS monitor reporting? (We don’t report to Companies House).

  • SECR reporting will be through Annual Reports submitted to Companies House, but organisations which do not submit annual reports to Companies House can report voluntarily. Company reporting is regulated by Companies House and FRC.

 We are an HE organisation. Presumably be required to comply with SECR. Questions: 1) will the CCL rate be fixed year in year out or will it vary, 2) If we have no energy efficiency actions for a particular year would there be a penalty for inaction?

  • I) The annual CCL rates are not fixed and are published by HMT on their website. In April 2019 rate for electricity will be 0.00847 £/kWh and for gas 0.00339 £/kWh
  • 2) Company reporting is enforced by Companies House and FRC. However, there will be more about enforcement in the SECR guidance due to be published in January 2019. No penalty for inaction although there may be reputational impact.

Could you expand on what you mean by verified energy use for quoted companies?

  • Expert verification of energy data is not mandated in SECR, but it assures accuracy of published information. We will offer a SECR verification service. It will be similar to CRC internal audits in some respects but will reflect the SECR requirements.

Do you have to stick with the same intensity metric year on year?

  • There will be more on intensity metrics in the guidance to be published in January 2019, but the intention is that companies can choose the most appropriate metrics, as is the case with mandatory GHG reporting. companies will need to publish their previous year’s figure from the second year of exporting.

What are the UK energy use Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, where are they defined and can you explain further what you mean by reporting underlying energy use?

  • Scope 1 and 2 are defined in the GHG Protocol. In summary, Scope 1 emissions are greenhouse gas emissions released on an organisation’s site or from their vehicles. For example emissions generated by gas boilers and vehicles. Scope 2 is purchased electricity, heat and steam.
  • Large unquoted companies and LLPs are required to report UK energy use and associated Scope 1 and 2 emissions. As a minimum, energy use in scope will be gas, electricity and transport. Quoted companies already report global emissions and will now be required to report their global energy use. There will be more detail in the guidance.

Do we report location or market based emissions, or both?

  • There will be more detail in the guidance. Mandatory GHG reporting currently requires dual reporting.

Will complex Groups be able to nominate one legal entity to report on behalf of other group members, even if they are not related as parent-subsidiary or have different overseas parents, as is the case currently in the CRC.

  • SECR information will be in the relevant company’s directors’ report or the parent’s group report if it is included here. The details around reporting will be covered in the guidance and the draft regulations might be helpful in the meantime (see below for link).

Can you say when the reporting timeframe is? Firstly what does the first report needs to refer to (eg Jan 17 to Jan 18). So if my company fy runs 31 jan to 31 jan, is the report for the 19/20 year (out early 2020) is the first one due?

  • The first report will start for reporting years commencing on or after April 2019. So if your FY runs from 1 Feb, the first year will be 1 Feb 2020 to 31 Jan 2021.

Will there be any specific guidance relating to Private Equity (LLP) firms? e.g. will they be expected to report against each fund?

  • The draft regulations make provision specifically for companies and LLPs rather than funds. There will be more on this in the guidance and in the meantime, the draft regulations will be helpful.

Smaller companies not versed with the DEFRA conversion factors will struggle with interpreting the needs. Can the DEFRA data be made more user friendly for SMEs – perhaps with linked guidance for the SECR?

  • SECR will only apply to quoted companies and large unquoted companies and LLPs. So SMEs are not affected by SECR, unless reporting on a voluntary basis. To qualify as a large company, see the Companies Act definition.

In terms of the UK energy use, does the electricity element of electric vehicles go into the transport section or the overall electricity consumption?

  • In the draft regulations, consumption of fuel used for the purpose of transport includes purchase of electricity. There will be more detail about reporting on transport in the guidance

CRC was a revenue generator – where is this revenue going to captured instead?

  • The revenue is captured by increases in CCL from April 2019.

In CRC, suppliers have an obligation to provide annual supplier statements.  Will this requirement be retained for SECR?

  • No decision at present, it’s a supply licence condition.

The draft regulations, The Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018, are published here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111171356/contents

Further reading: Have a look at our blogs on the topic of SECR

UK Government announcement means energy & carbon reporting for many more companies in 2019.

The new energy and carbon reporting framework: will your company be affected?

Reaching Enlightenment with a Smart Building Gateway

The Internet of Things is growing at a staggering rate – there are now 3 connected devices for every human on the planet, and that number is growing exponentially.

But is your building keeping up with the pace?

Every day the built environment undergoes dynamic changes to its occupancy patterns, air quality and plant operation. Whilst these changes may seem subtle or routine, they can have a major impact on energy use, carbon emissions and occupant wellbeing.

These impacts often go undiagnosed, which is part of the reason that building emissions are nearly four times higher than design estimates (even amongst modern, well designed buildings!)

With increasing energy costs and tenant demand for sustainable, productive working environments, making sense of these changes has never been more important.

Could a Smart Building Gateway be the solution?

Smart Building Gateways provide a greater understanding of building performance, by optimising energy & comfort, and reaching data enlightenment.

A recent Carbon Credentials’ connected building “CAPP” project (Collaborative Asset Performance Programme) saw a 21% energy cost saving achieved immediately at no capital cost. Prior to being connected this London office building was believed to be operating well, with site personnel unaware of the savings potential that existed.

But once the gateway was deployed, enormous potential was seen for improved operational control thanks to the data insights enabled by the Smart Building Gateway that were simply not possible using existing industry-standard BMS trending and visualisations.

So how can you achieve similar results?

It might be easier than you think. With IoT costs dropping and more flexible solutions entering the market, there is no better time to embrace intelligent building energy performance.

Carbon Credentials offers flexible solutions that enable powerful insight on performance without interfering with your building operations or security.

We then work in collaboration with your team, leveraging data insights to drive meaningful reductions in energy & carbon, and improved operation and comfort.

Related Blogs

Why do so many strategies for technical energy reduction rely on new buildings?
How Will the Internet of Things Drive Energy Performance?
Digital Disruption in Commercial Real Estate – Opportunity or threat?

Green Brexit – a positive step forward?

At the end of March I attended the Green Brexit:One Year Countdown event run by APPG on Climate Change and Sustainable Resources at the Houses of Parliament. The APPCCG’s ambition is to push the Green Brexit agenda and ensure that legislation is put in to place before March 2019.

The event speakers included Prof. Charlotte Burns, University of Sheffield and lead researcher on Brexit and Environment, Stephen Gethins, MP, SNP Foreign Affairs and Europe Spokesperson, Paul McNamee, Head of Politics, Green Alliance, Alastair Chisholm, Head of Policy and Communications, Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management and the event was Chaired by Lord Inglewood DL.

With Brexit creating uncertainty in all sectors, the environment, energy and climate change is no different. There are many questions around legislation, such as; What should it look like? How will it be managed or tightened? The UK’s own requirements for cutting carbon emissions are considered more stringent than the EU, and do the Government plan to continue this?

The key issues that were considered to achieve a sustainable Brexit were:

  • Transposing EU standards into UK law and ensuring the standard remains as high.
  • Appointing a strong watchdog that will have the same or similar powers as the ECJ (European Court of Justice).
  • Incorporating the EU environmental principles into UK legislation.

Brexit poses challenges but also opportunities for the sustainability sector. The UK could become a world leader and champion standards for environment legislation and policy. However, the UK Government has a lot to consider with regard to Brexit and there is a concern that this might push the sustainability agenda down in terms of priority.

Key opportunities identified through Brexit:

  • It could set a framework and precedent for negotiations and working with the EU in the future.
  • There is a brief window to get things right and build an environmentally sustainable UK.
  • There is a chance for the UK to show environmental leadership on the world stage.

Key challenges of a sustainable Brexit

Climate change does not have boundaries. It is a global not a national problem, and we must work with the EU and other countries to overcome it. Government is calling for a business presence in the decision-making process, but it is difficult for global companies to take a view on country-specific issues.

In the past, the ECJ has been very strong, and the pressure of being challenged by the ECJ has pushed the UK into meeting its environmental requirements. There is a concern that a new watchdog may not have the same powers and therefore commitments may not be upheld. Ambitious plans have been laid, but legislation needs to be tight, and a strong watchdog needs to be in place to enforce it.

Finally, the funding available for addressing climate change in the UK is a concern, and it is unclear yet how much funding will be available.

The role of Business

The message for businesses was clear. To take action and lead the charge, and in doing so influence policy and policy makers. The overall conclusions were that the presence of business in decision making has not been felt strongly and that the economic opportunity that a Green Brexit represents has not yet been recognised or acted upon.

The low carbon agenda should be at the heart of businesses agendas for economic trade.

Final comments

Finally, it was encouraging to hear that the conversations have shifted, and the government is showing a greater level of ambition. There was a lot of positivity and appetite around environmental issues and it was positive to see that the Government recognises that a healthy economy relies on a healthy environment.

Our own role in this is to help businesses drive the agenda and to take a lead.
If you would like to find out more about future-proofing your business against changes in legislation check out the blogs below, or contact me if you would like to discuss this further natasha.allard@carboncredentials.com

Related Links
Tackling Scope 3 for Science-Based Targets
TCFD’s increasing influence – Is your business ready?
From Theory to Practice: FAQs from our latest science-based target event

For more information please see Policy Connect Principle for a Sustainable Brexit

Results from the Polls and Carbon Credentials’ Wellbeing Event

On Tuesday, 5th of December Carbon Credentials hosted a discussion on the topic of health and wellbeing in the workplace and how our buildings can help to improve the quality of our work. Contributing to this was Elinor Huggett from the UK Green Building Council and a number of companies including some of the largest Commercial Real Estate and Professional Services Companies in the UK.  

The event included presentations that summarised the state of wellbeing in order to provide a common basis for discussion. The main focus, however, was on the people in the room discussing how they can deliver impactful wellbeing projects that deliver healthier buildings and workplaces.

During the course of the event two polls were taken of the 19 attendees. These polls were instantly played back to workshop and were aimed to better understand where wellbeing sits on the agenda for those attending. The majority of the audience was made up of sustainability professionals, with a technical building focus. They included in-house building management teams from corporate occupiers and higher education, as will as managing agents and landlords from a Commercial Real Estate background. The workshop was conducted under Chatham House Rules.

Does health and wellbeing matter to our roles?

The first question we polled the audience with was how Health and Wellbeing relates to their work. Unsurprisingly, there was a high interest, with almost half of the attendees saying that health and wellbeing already played an important role in their work.

The event was primarily concerned with how to deliver real health and wellbeing projects in buildings. In the past two years Health and Wellbeing discussions have risen very quickly, and there have been a few prestige WELL Standard projects. On the whole, Carbon Credentials doesn’t see as many case studies of completed and delivered wellbeing in the workplace projects. Our second question was about some of the barriers which might be a challenge for delivering Wellbeing projects in buildings.

Barriers to delivering healthy buildings projects

Financing was a key issue, with 44% of respondents claiming that was the main barrier. The issue that we in Carbon Credentials see in the market is a lack of clear measurement and success metric. This can mean it becomes difficult to justify a project for financing, because the proposal does not have a clear outcome KPI. The issue of how to track success in wellbeing projects will be the subject of a subsequent blog.

The following two, totalling 39%, both represent a lack of a clear understanding of project opportunities or examples of success in a project. Carbon Credentials sees this as an important barrier to adoption. Without clear case studies demonstrating successful projects, it can be challenging to get even the simplest projects agreed. We need more case studies, and Carbon Credentials is committed to developing these to exhibit what is possible in Wellbeing.

This blog is the first in a series which discuss insights from this event and the state of wellbeing in the workplace.

Carbon Credentials is supporting clients with wellbeing projects including Indoor Air Quality monitoring, RESET Indoor Air Quality certification, healthy buildings engagement and we help control buildings for comfort with our CAPP service. Please get in contact for more information on how we can support your healthy workplace.

Energy Performance in the Higher Education Sector

The Display Energy Certificate (DEC) dataset was recently re-released. The DEC is a rating of the operational energy use of all public buildings with over 250m2 of floor space. This dataset contains data for all sites in the UK that require a DEC, which accounts for just over 59,000 buildings in total. With so many buildings covering a wide range of operational uses, different building types have their own specific benchmarks. The combined energy spend for all these sites comes to over £2.4 billion per annum, which represents a wealth of information and saving opportunities.

Using this data, Carbon Credentials singled out the Higher Education (HE) sector to carry out analysis to identify key areas available for energy performance improvements. The specific DEC benchmark that covers the HE sector is called ‘University Campus Buildings’ and there are over 5,000 buildings within this benchmark. When looking at just the largest 306 consuming assets in this benchmark that rely on mechanical plant we were able to identify potential savings worth £15.6 million that could be unlocked.

The HE sector was chosen for this investigation because the sector has already made a strong commitment to supporting sustainability and energy reduction. This commitment is shown by the sector-level carbon reduction target of a 43% decrease in carbon emissions by 2020 from a 2005 baseline.

Image 1: The geographical location of all university campus buildings across the UK (excluding Scotland) with a DEC.

How Are University Campus Buildings Currently Performing?

The operational rating of a building tells you how efficiently energy is being used when compared to a typical building of its type. When viewing all sites within this benchmark, buildings will be clustered around the C & D rating. This is because these ratings are typical for buildings within this benchmark. The graph below demonstrates this distribution.

All University Campus Buildings with a DEC rating


Graph 1: The distribution of all the University Campus Building’s DEC ratings against the total annual energy spend of buildings within that rating band.

Before energy performance improvements can be implemented, it is essential to understand the key characteristics of a building that affect energy efficiency. Through our experience of working across a wide range of buildings, Carbon Credentials understands that high consuming buildings with a large amount of mechanical plant activity are often operating well below optimal efficiency.

The reason for this is that plant equipment such as chillers, air-handling units, pumps, and fans typically contribute up to 50% of an entire buildings consumption. Gaining visibility over this large portion of energy consumption has traditionally been a huge challenge. If we filter the dataset to show only large consuming assets (assets with an above £150,000 energy spend) that use a mechanical plant, the distribution of the DECs should show a clustering around the poorer energy efficiency ratings. The graph below shows exactly this – buildings that meet the characteristics set out above are more clustered around the E, F & G ratings, indicating they are performing worse than a typical building in this benchmark.

High Energy spend University Campus Building DEC ratings

Graph 2: The 70 G-rated buildings, when looking at the 306 high energy-spending University Campus Buildings with mechanical plants, account for over 50% of the annual energy spend of all G-rated buildings in the wider University Campus Building bracket, showing the importance of addressing these buildings

How to close The Energy Performance Gap?

The fact that University Campus Buildings spending over £150,000 with a large amount of mechanical plant usage are performing significantly poorer than other buildings typically do represents a huge missed opportunity. Traditionally, visibility over consumption patterns within these buildings has been difficult to achieve. However, this has potential to change – through Carbon Credentials’ targeted analytics and BMS insights, it is now becoming easier to identify and implement targeted energy savings initiatives.

The method that Carbon Credentials does this with is called our Collaborative Asset Performance Programme (CAPP). Through the delivery of CAPP, Carbon Credentials has consistently found energy savings of 7-15% for high spending assets such as these. This is achieved by establishing intelligent control of energy use by providing new visibility of plant operation and proactively identifying and achieving sustainable energy savings.

The large-consuming university campus sites, identified as having a complex mechanical plant, have a combined energy spend of £104 million. Based on savings that Carbon Credentials has made in previous buildings there is a major opportunity to reduce energy costs by up to £15.6 million. The carbon savings from such a rollout would equate to the annual carbon emissions of over 6 large universities, making a significant impact on the 43% reduction target set by HEFCE. This is the reason why Universities are numbered among our clients already walking the CAPP path with us, and why you should consider it too!

If this interests you and you would like to find out more about our Collaborative Asset Performance Programme then please contact us here.

 

James Hawkins, Analyst