How to Approach Climate Tech in the Office

In recent months, we have shared tips for improving your environmental credentials through use of our sustainable handover solutions.

As vital as it is to give home users the tools they need to make the most of the sustainable features in their home, it is equally important to practice what you preach, and ensure your offices are as efficient as the homes you build.

With so much emphasis on ensuring the buildings of tomorrow are fit for purpose, it can be easy to overlook the notion that sustainability starts at home – or in this case, the office.

As reported by PlaceTech, Fifth Wall and British Land have shared advice for the effective utilisation of climate tech in offices.

Net Zero Carbon Audits

British Land recommends collating data on energy usage in the office to determine patterns throughout the day and the year.  This can then help identify areas for investment.

Start With Quick Wins

Fifth Wall points to the popularity in LED retrofitting over the last ten years, which reduces energy use by around 20%.

Next up should be air conditioning, which is responsible for approximately 30-60% of an office’s power, and how more efficient electric motors, such as Turntide, or better filters can make a huge difference to a building’s energy consumption.

Clean energy should be next on the agenda, although that could involve power purchase agreements with a provider of renewable energy.

Work With a Filter

Not the filters in an air condition unit but a venture capitalist who knows the climate tech industry.  British Land highlight their relationship with Fifth Wall, who fulfilled such a role, by investing in five start-ups out of 1,300 reviewed last year.

This creates a Top of the Pops-style overview of the most relevant climate techs to your company, so you can employ someone’s expertise to avoid becoming overwhelmed by a growing market.

A knock-on benefit of this is that by being an early adopter of the technology manufactured by these start-ups, you will ensure your place at the front of the queue for any physical systems, before the manufacturing becomes backlogged.

It Doesn’t Need to Reinvent the Wheel

Tech has an exciting aura around it that only grows as we reach milestones foreshadowed by great works of science fiction.  But while we are instinctively drawn to cutting edge, groundbreaking technology, the reality is that something brand new can be a bit of a wildcard when put to work in the field, compared to, say, a new line of solar panels that build on decades of previous designs and data.  Air conditioning systems, insulation, solar panels and batteries remain highly effective technologies, albeit only when used efficiently.

Compromise Will Be Necessary

There will some situations where the temptation to upgrade or retrofit certain systems may not actually be the best idea – at least not until the original system has run its course.

David Walker, chief operating officer at British Land, illustrates this point with boilers.  If they have a remaining lifespan of around five to ten years, it is best to stick with them, even if that doesn’t have the desired effect on EPC certification or energy consumption.  There may be other areas that are primed and ready for upgrading.

Don’t Only Think About When the Technology Will Pay for Itself

When we think about climate tech, it’s often tempting – in part due to marketing strategies – to think about how long it will take before the lower running costs of green technology will offset the initial investment.

Sure, that is one thing to consider, but the most progressive-minded building owners also consider the internal rate of return the technology has on the overall value of an asset.

Look Out for Best Practice

The built environment is a major contributor of carbon emissions, and reducing them is a collective effort.  Keep your finger on the pulse and take elements of best practice from industry peers, to ensure you are making tangible improvements.

Whether you are a developer of commercial properties or you are just looking to improve the environmental performance of the office – after all, ESG credentials are an increasingly decisive factor for potential consumers – you should make sure any changes or upgrades are dutifully researched, planned, implemented and utilised, to ensure they are as cost-effective and high impact as possible.

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