We are exactly 27 years away from reaching the UN's ambitious 2050 net zero target, but the growing numbers of properties, tenants and companies are aiming to cut their carbon footprint sooner rather than later.
Facilities management is vital for making it happen. In India, CRE accounted for over 36% of total energy use and 39% of energy and process-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions, with manufacturing industries accounting for 11% of those emissions, according to a report. But, reducing this in the future years is critical for firms to meet their own sustainability targets as well as, of course, for limiting environmental destruction.
Indeed, it is one of the most difficult challenges confronting the facility managers today; but, the question is, "How can you reduce energy usage while keeping your buildings functioning smoothly and providing excellent levels of service?" To get answers to this question, let us take a look at Facility Management and its stance on net zero target so far.
Facilities Managers Fighting Climate Change on the Frontlines!
Facility management, as widely known, is the process of overseeing and managing the day-to-day operations and maintenance of buildings, including both residential and commercial spaces. In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the role that the facility management industry can play in helping to reduce a building's carbon footprint and achieve a net zero carbon goal.
Residential and commercial properties account for almost 40% of worldwide energy usage and 85% of building emissions occur throughout the asset's operational stage (where construction and demolition of the buildings count for the rest). This means that the decisions made by facility management experts can have a significant effect on lowering building emissions.
A case study at a UK university campus between the years 2000-14, revealed that a combination of low- and no-cost methods, maintenance, retrofits, and continuing improvements reduced energy usage by up to 50%. This was accomplished by the implementation of baby-step modifications. And, with advancements in technology, it is now easier than ever for facility management experts to begin reducing their building's carbon footprint.
Now let’s have a look at some major strategies and practices that can help facility management to achieve their net zero emission targets.
1. Establishing a baseline of energy usage and emissions
Estimating energy usage throughout the portfolios and how much is used by each equipment (i.e., emissions related to lighting, heating, HVAC, etc.). Once a baseline measure of facility carbon emissions has been established, facility managers can begin making improvements that will lower their emission.
This is a significant step, and in this technological era, the strain of keeping equipment-by-equipment records can be alleviated with the help of a cloud-based platform like IQnext, which assists in linking disparate systems and utilizing collective data across the portfolios.
2. Start with the easy-to-achieve targets
Once facility management experts have established their baseline energy usage, they are likely to identify various energy-consuming sources that can be easily lowered. It can contain easy-to-achieve steps like: Changing pre-set temperatures on equipment such as HVAC systems, reducing temperature in an air conditioner by 1° Celsius or turning it 'off' when room temperature reaches a particular temperature could result in 3-4% energy savings.
A smart cloud-based IoT solution can tell you exactly how much energy is being consumed in real-time and allows you to control it in advance.
3. Sustainable facility management
To significantly reduce carbon footprint and emissions, facilities embrace a sustainable strategy and deploy greener utilities under their facilities, decreasing energy waste, keeping a track of all the equipment while utilizing IoT as a holistic solution.
Facility managers also raise awareness about minimizing carbon footprints and incorporating sustainable green features to help reduce the carbon emissions. Compliance to local, national, and global emission standards results in a huge participation in the net zero target.
4. Implementing strategies for continual improvement
A number of complex investments are made by facility managers to assist reduce building emissions. This includes the following:
When rooms and departments are not in use, sensor-based lights switch off. Using IoT sensors to identify whether or not rooms of a workplace are in use and to turn off lights or HVAC systems when not needed. Facility managers may build up and enforce processes and procedures across their portfolio using the incredibly versatile rule engine and the ability to construct and analyze spaces and departments.
5. Proactive maintenance
One of the most efficient strategies to reduce a building's carbon footprint is to keep all equipment and structures in excellent operational condition. Poor equipment operation can lead to premature equipment failure, higher maintenance needs, and significant energy waste, all of which increase maintenance as well as downtime.
Regularly evaluating and assuring the efficiency of equipment like HVAC systems will minimize the need for replacement and also optimize energy consumption. Facility managers can foresee problems with alarms adapted to their monitoring needs, track and collect the data on scheduled maintenance and expenditures, and generate reports.
The Road Ahead…
Achieving a net zero carbon footprint through facility management is an ambitious but attainable goal that can pave the way for a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future. By investing in energy efficiency and green energy, facility managers can make a tangible difference in the fight against climate change, help businesses meet their sustainability goals, and reduce their own operational costs in the process.
The potential benefits of this effort are both immediate and long-term, and the cost of inaction is too great. Facility managers have a unique opportunity to lead the way in creating positive environmental change, and their commitment is essential for a healthier and more sustainable future for all.
Are you ready to take a step forward towards the net zero target? Because, we are! At IQnext, our goal is to achieve sustainability and efficiency by seamlessly integrating a portfolio of buildings and providing stakeholders with real-time data-driven insights, all while disrupting the traditional, fragmented, and reactive approach with our simple, intuitive, and scalable solution. Connect with IQnext now!