Season’s Greetings and Tips for the Festive Period

With Christmas less than a week away, 2016 is almost at a close, bringing a year of important and exciting developments in the sustainability sector to an end.

Between the outputs of the COP22 UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh and a growing emphasis on the need for greater energy efficiency and the potential improvements in the built environment by the International Energy Agency, 2016 has been a year during which sustainability and energy management concerns remained at the forefront of international attention. The recent interest in science based targets and increased participation in GRESB in turn demonstrate growing awareness of the importance of sustainability in the real estate sector.

The outcome of the EU referendum in the UK, the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the election of Donald Trump to the post of president of the United States all, however, continue to raise concerns about the outlook of environmental regulation and the scope for coordinated efforts to combat climate change. The close of 2016 thus leaves us with a range of sustainability commitments, opportunities and challenges to address in the coming year.

On behalf of EVORA we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We look forward to helping you to stay informed about important developments and supporting you as you navigate the sustainability challenges and opportunities that 2017 is set to bring.

For those committed to keeping up their energy and resource efficiency efforts over the festive periods, see below for a number of tips for the festive period:

  1. Turning down the thermostat: Reducing the heating temperature by 1°C degree between Christmas and new year could reduce the average office energy usage by up to 8% and save enough energy to roast 108 Christmas turkeys.
  2. Switching off all non-essential appliances such as monitors, chargers and printers in the average office over the festive period could save enough energy to power 137,934 TVs during the Queen’s Christmas speech.
  3. Switching off or turning down non-essential lighting: In the average office, switching off non-essential lighting over the festive period could save enough energy to light up 12,163 LED Christmas trees lights for a day.

Would you like to know more about the sustainability challenges and opportunities that 2017 is set to bring? Please get in touch.


 

CRC Annual Report Publication: Key Results for Phase 2

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Annual Report Publication (ARP) covering the first 2 compliance years of Phase 2 has been published today.

CRC Annual Report: key results

Key results for Phase 2 to the end of the 2015/16 compliance year show:

  • Total revenue through carbon allowance purchases in 2015/16 increased 18.2% to £902,957,350 compared to 2014/15
  • Total energy use reported for 2015/16 was 3.2% lower than 2014/15: equivalent to 3,558,208MWh
  • Total reported emissions for 2015/16 were 9.7% lower than 2014/15: equivalent to 4,415,594tCO2
  • 1,858 participants registered for Phase 2; this is a small reduction in the number of participants when compared with the final year of Phase 1

The key results present some very serious numbers, including a near £1bn revenue stream for the government and some notable improvements in energy usage and carbon impact.

3.2% reduction in annual energy usage

The CRC is due to be scrapped following completion of the 2019 compliance year (in July 2019). The Scheme has been widely criticised by Participants as overly burdensome and costly to administer.  Others will argue that the benefit of identifying and reporting annual emissions has brought attention to energy efficiency improvements, as demonstrated through the 3.2% reduction in reported energy use.

Irrespective of what happens going forwards, monitoring will continue to be essential to ensure understanding of energy performance and to help track energy efficiency. Our proprietary software, SIERA, is a market leading, innovative and easy-to-use environmental management software system. SIERA is already managing billions of pounds worth of real estate, and is being rapidly adopted by large organisations across the globe.


Find out how SIERA can transform your data capture and reporting by calling our experts today.


 

Science-Based Targets: Considerations for the Commercial Real Estate Sector

Interest in Science-Based Targets (SBTs) has grown significantly following last year’s Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (which led to a climate change agreement signed by 195 member states) and more recently at COP22 in Marrakech. For a general overview, take a look at Part 1 for a short introduction to Science-Based Targets.

The importance of greenhouse gas emission reductions is expected to have varying implications across different industries. For the commercial real estate sector, there are several issues to consider.

Science-Based Targets: Categorising Emissions

SBT platforms require the input of emissions data, which is then analysed to generate emission reduction targets over time. Greenhouse gas emissions are caused by multiple organisational activities. One way to describe greenhouse gas emissions is through Scopes 1, 2 and 3 according to the GHG Protocol as shown in Figure 1.

Data on emissions from sources is collected, entered into a model, and then targets for each emission scope are set based on the business’ contribution to the overall 2°C reduction plan (agreed at COP21). This relies on the ability to measure and monitor accurately the different categories of greenhouse gas emissions for an organisation’s activities (Figure 1 – GHG Protocol, 2011). The Better Buildings Partnership (2016) recently made this observation, but specifically mentioned the landlord-tenant split and allocation of emissions as the key challenges. The problem for commercial real estate firms is who is made accountable for the emissions– the landlord, the tenant or both?

[clickToTweet tweet=”The problem for #CRE firms is who is accountable for #emissions – the landlord, the tenant or both?” quote=”The problem for commercial real estate firms is who is made accountable for the emissions– the landlord, the tenant or both?”]

Different Approaches

We have been asked by clients to explain how Science-Based Targets actually work in practice. This is a good question. At present, there are many approaches available. Examples include: the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA); The Absolute Emissions Compression; The 3% Solution; Climate Stabilisation Intensity Targets (CSI); Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilising Targets (C-FACT); GHG Emissions per Value Added (GEVA) and Context-based Carbon Metrics (CSO). All have different approaches.

[clickToTweet tweet=”How do #sciencebasedtargets actually work in practice? This blog explores the answer…” quote=”How do Science-Based Targets actually work in practice?”]

The Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA) is currently being considered alongside other approaches within commercial real estate. It was originally developed by the Carbon Disclosure Project, World Resources Institute and WWF. Here, we focus on this approach, but in the future, we will consider other methodologies.

How does SDA work?

In short, this method splits up the carbon reduction pathway to different kinds of sectors and activities and is based on the establishment of business-level emission trajectories that support the 2°C global warming threshold, developed by the International Energy Agency, which limits the total remaining cumulative energy-related CO2 emissions between 2015 and 2100 to 1,000 GtCO2 (IEA, 2014).

The step-by-step approach for setting emissions targets

The steps below provide a summary of how SDA targets are set (this is intended to be an overview, please contact us for more information).

  1. Identify emissions by converting energy use into CO2e
  2. Categorize by Activity Type or Scope
  3. Produce a forecast of business-as-usual for each activity type – what will emissions look like if the business continues without intervention?
  4. Produce a forecast for each activity type based on the emission reduction required to align with the global 2°C carbon reduction target. This becomes your SBT
  5. Compare Business-as-Usual vs. Science-Based Target for the different activities
  6. Combine activity-level analysis to identify an overall target
  7. Track progress over time, engage and review

Modelling Methodologies – Some Considerations

Emissions data is not the only input that goes into the model – especially with regard to real estate. There are other things to consider:

  • Scale: What do the emissions cover and what is the timescale – building level or portfolio level?
  • Geography and Location: Where does it apply?
  • Activities: What kinds of activities occur in the building? What activity levels are we expecting to see in the building? What are the occupancy levels like? What does the electricity-use look like?
  • Trends and Changes Over Time: What are the consumption trends and how do we see this changing in the future i.e. rates of change?
  • The Grid and Energy Procurement: Should carbon emissions from the grid be factored into the model? How are regional variations in the make-up of the grid and type of energy procurement taken into account in the emission scenarios?

On the whole, there is the question of what to include or exclude from the model. There is a risk of data over-refinements and normalisation, which could lead to an erroneous not-so-Science-Based result, which could be meaningless as a strategy!

Data Accuracies: Measurement and Monitoring

Target-Setting begins with data. If the data was poor at the outset, it cannot be considered to be a true reflection of what is happening in reality and as a result, any target would be inaccurate. SBTs are only scientific in their alignment to decarbonisation pathways which lead to a limit of 2°C global surface temperature increase, but it is wrong to believe that SBTs can act as the silver-bullet approach to achieve cost-savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions directly.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It is wrong to believe that #sciencebasedtargets can act as a silver-bullet approach…” quote=”It is wrong to believe that SBTs can act as the silver-bullet approach to achieve cost-savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions directly.”]

Another issue is how to set the baseline for SBTs. Of course, the scale and extent of data matters in this case, especially with the issues of measurement, monitoring and completeness of greenhouse gas emissions data at the building and portfolio level.

Concluding Remarks

Setting SBTs has the potential to convey a message and a common goal; but there is a need to link to the bigger picture.

Other factors should be considered alongside SBTs for maximizing the performance of portfolios through achieving energy and cost-saving opportunities. The setting of SBTs as outlined above does not consider opportunity for improvement. SBTs should be used as the initial framework and its design should be informed by data and sustainability management strategies, as well as the climate science. Performance must also be tracked over time to assess alignment to the target.

In the future, SBTs are expected to be a popular area for development, but for now, take-up is still slow in the commercial real estate industry.


What next? It is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, if you identify any issues on sustainability and data management strategies that you would like to talk to us more about, please get in touch.



Further reading:

We’re Hiring! Senior Sustainability Consultant Required to Support Our Growth

Position: Senior Sustainability Consultant
Salary: Up to £37,000 plus benefits and bonus
Location: London or Bolton, Greater Manchester


Overview

EVORA is a successful sustainability consultancy specialising in commercial real estate, which has also developed a market-leading sustainability management software, SIERA. We have an outstanding team of committed professionals and an enviable client base of international blue chip companies, including global property advisors, institutional fund managers and banks.

To support the exciting growth of the business, we are seeking a highly motivated and talented sustainability professional at Senior Consultant level. This position offers a very exciting opportunity to work with high profile blue chip companies delivering a broad spectrum of sustainability services, offering great career potential.

Passion and a determination to deliver excellence are essential qualities, as is a commercially astute and innovative approach to delivering client solutions.


Purpose

  • Delivery of a broad range of sustainability services to commercial real estate sector clients
  • Client management
  • Support in business development

Core Responsibilities

  • EMS development and operation to ISO certification levels
  • CRC management & GHG reporting
  • GRESB completion
  • Manage large environmental data management programmes, coordinating multiple parties across Europe
  • Monitoring and analysis of energy consumption data
  • Client management

Requirements

  • Degree or Masters in related subject & membership of an appropriate and recognised professional body (e.g. IEMA associate/full member)
  • Creative and resourceful with an ability to laterally apply knowledge to deliver value added solutions
  • Detailed understanding of environmental legislation
  • Second European language desirable but not essential
  • Highly articulate and numerate
  • Advanced IT skills

To apply for this position, please send your CV and a covering letter to info@evoraglobal.com with “Senior Sustainability Consultant Application” as the subject of the email.