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How is Bruntwood working towards Net Zero Carbon?

How is Bruntwood working towards Net Zero Carbon?

What is Net Zero Carbon?

You may have heard the term ‘net zero carbon’ and been wondering exactly what it means. In summary, net zero carbon is when the carbon being emitted into the atmosphere is balanced out by the carbon being removed from the atmosphere through various methods.

Net zero carbon is incredibly important as it can help to slow down global warming, thus, limiting further damage to the environment. However, in order for it to be effective, it must be on a large-scale and permanent, which means that the carbon removed is not emitted back into the atmosphere over time. It takes some meticulous planning.

What is the Difference Between Carbon Neutral and Net Zero?

With so many buzzwords, such as ‘net zero’, ‘carbon neutral’, ‘climate positive’ and ‘carbon footprint’ flying around, it’s no wonder people become confused.

When it comes to the difference between carbon neutral and net zero, there are a few distinguishing factors. Whilst both have the same goal to remove harmful emissions, they operate on very different scales. 

Carbon neutral refers to the balance between carbon emissions released into the atmosphere and the emissions removed. However, net zero refers to the balance of all of the greenhouse gases released, including CO2, methane and sulphur dioxide.

How to Achieve Net Zero Carbon

From solar panels, to living walls - there are a number of different ways in which net zero carbon can be achieved, including: 

  • Using alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear and water 

  • Investing in vehicles and equipment that are powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels

  • Using energy efficiently and incorporating smart technology to monitor usage

  • Incorporating plants into buildings to absorb CO2  and convert it into oxygen

Here at Bruntwood, we’ve implemented a number of these strategies to help us to monitor and improve our output more efficiently, including: 

  • Smart buildings - we’ve implemented smart, algorithmic learning into our buildings to gather information and monitor energy usage, including smart metering

  • Energy efficient lighting - this helps to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible

  • Removing gas boilers - by replacing gas boilers with heat pumps, our buildings are heated using high-efficiency air source heat pumps

  • Setting targets - we set strict targets to help us monitor and reduce energy use

  • Insulation and windows - we evaluate the insulation in all of our buildings - including windows 

  • Industry-first wind farm investment - we have invested in a wind farm to provide up to 80% of our annual energy needs

  • Solar paneling - a number of our buildings have solar panels, with ambitious plans for further installations on existing buildings and development projects

  • Efficiency reports - we complete audits of all of our buildings to help us understand the steps required to raise energy efficiency

  • Waste processes - We’ve partnered with B&M Waste to divert 100% of our waste from landfill

Bruntwood Sustainability Video

Sustainability at Bruntwood

All of these processes can help to reduce the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere to help us reach our sustainability goals.

Net Zero Carbon Construction Methods

Net zero carbon isn’t just limited to the way a building operates - it’s also important when it comes to constructing new ones too. 

Some of the best net zero carbon construction methods include:

  • Using recycled, rather than virgin materials

  • Reducing the use of fossil energy during construction

  • Investing in long-lasting materials to reduce the need for replacements later down the line

  • Using materials with lower carbon properties, such as structural timber in place of concrete or steel

  • Designing highly-efficient structural elements to help reduce the materials required during construction 

Here at Bruntwood, 69% of our emissions come from the development of buildings, whilst building operations contribute to 21% of our emissions. When developing new buildings, we are committed to finding new ways to ensure they’re as sustainable as possible in order to reach our goal of becoming a fully net zero business by 2050. 

All of our new developments are aligned with best practices from UKGBC, LETI, RIBA and NABERS Design for Performance.

One particular example of where we are implementing these strategies is planning the build of our most sustainable space yet - Ev0. What will be the UK’s lowest carbon new build workspace, Ev0 will help to support our sustainability goals. 

We plan to build this fully-electric building using a truly unique, sustainably-sourced, timber frame that locks in high volumes of carbon. We will also be planting trees on-site, which will absorb carbon from the atmosphere through a practice known as carbon sequestration.

Additionally, the use of smart technology inside the building will allow us to control the temperature and air quality, helping to reduce energy wastage to allow us to operate at net zero carbon. Our customers will also be able to monitor their own usage, tracking their energy consumption with the use of smart meters, so they have a complete overview of what they’re using. 

But that’s not all - the construction of this building will also include:

  • Solar panelling 

  • A facade design for solar shading 

  • Charging points for electric vehicles 

  • High efficiency air source heat pumps with in-building ambient loop

Going forwards, we plan to adopt the most sustainable construction methods when building our portfolio, ensuring they help us to meet our net zero aspirations. From low-carbon materials, to sourcing things locally - we will do our bit to actively reduce our carbon emissions from start to finish.

So whether you’re interested in basing your business from the UK’s lowest carbon new build workplace at Ev0, or you’re looking for a coworking space managed by a company with a deep commitment to sustainability and the environment - one of our spaces could be the ideal solution for you. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements.

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