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Demystifying net zero carbon design

3 June 2021


The declaration of a climate change emergency in the UK has had a lasting impact on project delivery. We have upskilled all our consultants to respond to that change and help advise on the decarbonisation of developments and estates.

In April 2021, the UK Government announced that they had set the world’s most ambitious climate change target, to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. This would take the UK more than three quarters of the way towards reaching Net Zero carbon by 2050, a goal set by the Government in 2019.

Demand reduction, through resource and energy efficiency as well as societal changes, plays a vital role in reaching our Net Zero carbon ambitions. Here at AA Projects, we have committed ourselves to becoming a Net Zero carbon organisation for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2022.

The move towards Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions requires every organisation to make changes. Although the transition towards becoming a Net Zero carbon country will impact organisations differently, there is however one thing in common. Every organisation that wishes to gain Net Zero carbon status should have a Net Zero carbon strategy.

Over the past 13 years our Energy and Sustainability team have been championing the move towards low carbon alternatives, prioritising demand reduction and efficiency. We have worked with many clients in multiple sectors implementing a wide range of initiatives. Our chartered specialists work with our clients to deliver our bespoke Net Zero carbon approach through analysis, planning, implementation as well as reporting.

A lot can be done in order to improve your estate and other aspects of your organisation as you move towards a more sustainable future. Here are some of the initiatives that could help your organisation as it moves towards carbon neutrality:

Demand reduction: Prioritising the energy efficiency of your estate is achieved by implementing solutions that reduce energy waste. This can be done through ensuring your buildings have a high performing building envelop by investing in high performance windows and glazing as well as thorough insulation.

Maximising potential for renewables on your site: If your estate is deemed to be appropriate, then maximising the use of renewable energy sources that can be used to generate energy on site is an option. Reducing your reliance on the National Grid through implementing renewable energy solutions, such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, increases your business resilience, giving your organisation more control as you move towards becoming a Net-Zero carbon organisation.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme ensures that if you were to generate excess energy, your organisation can send this to the National Grid in return for a small payment.

Fuel switching to low carbon fuel sources: Switching to low carbon solutions such as heat pumps is a good way to reduce your carbon emissions. Changing your natural gas burning boiler into a heat pump means you can provide heating without emitting any direct emissions.

There are many types of heat pump such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps as well as water source heat pumps. All options have their own benefits and constraints and organisational resources need to be evaluated in order to implement the best sustainable heating solution for them. Our experienced team reviews this within their bespoke carbon management plans.