There is no getting away from the on-going energy crisis. The news at the start of the year offered a stark warning to many organisations, with the IEA suggesting that global surge in demand for energy could spark another three years of market volatility.
In response, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) such demand will reinforce the need for a national programme of building retrofits. The leading trade association pointed out the need for a comprehensive plan to address the poor efficiency of buildings, saying “we can fix energy efficiency relatively quickly and cost-effectively through renovation and refurbishment - unless we fundamentally tackle the energy performance of both residential and commercial buildings this will simply become a bigger and bigger problem in the years to come.”
Retrofitting and energy use
BESA’s thoughts mirror our own on how retrofitting will be key to improving energy use in the face of increasing operational costs. Lighting is a huge source of energy consumption, and too often we find building owners and operators have forgotten the simple changes that can make a big difference. With an increasing need for building systems to perform both effectively and cost-effectively, upgrades are easy to do and should be seen as a key part of any energy saving and decarbonisation plan.
It’s not just businesses who are being affected by the energy price rises. Schools too are being hit astronomical bills that are swamping budgets. The report in Tes magazine highlighted the scale of the issue being faced, with one school reporting a £67,000 increase for the current financial year.
Acting on carbon emissions.
For businesses, the pressures of the energy crisis are taking place against the increasing need for greater sustainability. It has become clear that urgent action needs to be taken in this area, with the findings of the Met Office annual CO2 forecast stating that the rate at which carbon emissions are added to the atmosphere needs to come to a rapid and complete stop if the world is to meet its goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C2.
To help tackle the issue of carbon emissions from buildings, The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has published a digital Embodied Carbon Calculator tool to enable engineers to estimate the embodied carbon associated with mechanical, electrical and public health systems in buildings.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, recover.
Yet reducing carbon emissions is not the only environmental issue being faced. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently revealed the findings of a global stocktake of plastic production and pollution. It’s The Global Plastics Outlook used global, country and sector-level data to show how plastic production, use and waste has grown in recent decades, with warnings that the growth of the plastics market had outpaced economic growth by almost 40%.
This comes at the same time an IPSOS poll of more than 20,000 people across 28 countries found that three in four wanted a ban in single use plastics introduced as soon as possible.