To meet the 2015 Paris agreement target for keeping global temperature rise below 1.5⁰C, reducing the CO2 emissions is not sufficient and we have to try achieving net zero carbon emissions to preserve the environment. Net zero carbon emissions means that either we don’t produce CO2 Emissions at all or we offset what we produce by implementing projects that absorb these emissions such as renewable energy, tree planting, bio-energy…etc.
Most of the Australian state governments have committed to net zero emissions by around 2050 and therefore, the private sector should follow suit for the many benefits that will return on the organization by committing to net zero carbon emissions. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Preserve the environment for the coming generations.
- Committing to a net zero carbon emissions will show the responsibility of the organization to the environment and this will attract more clients.
- Attracting more investors and tenants.
- Differentiate your business from other competitors in your market.
- You will be better prepared for future changes in energy prices and new regulations.
- You can get NABERS Carbone Neutral Certificate, which is nationally recognized, and improve your organization ranking in your market.
To achieve net zero carbon emissions, you need to prepare a successful plan with reasonable targets to achieve. The briefed six steps below, can help you prepare such a plan:
- Determine the Organization Carbon Footprint:
The first step is to calculate how much is your total carbon emissions. This is including the emissions from all the organization activities such as: energy, operations, vehicle fleet, waste, refrigerants…etc.
This can be done by the organization sustainability team if they are qualified to do so or you can ask help from a specialized consultant.
- Reduce the Organization Waste:
All the waste whether it is energy waste or others should be reduced to the minimum. Energy and waste audits should be conducted to determine the places of the waste and eliminate it. Energy audit for example, can determine the energy waste and the ways to eliminate it. It also, estimate the carbon emissions avoidance by eliminating the waste. Click here for more details about the energy audit.
Usually, cutting the waste requires low capital cost because most of the time it is achieved by behavioural change to the organization staff, controls fine tuning, installing timers…etc and therefore, can be achieved in the first to second year of the net zero carbon emissions plan.
We always recommend to hire a specialist consultant to conduct these audits, who have vast experience in this field.
- Increase the Efficiency of the Existing Systems and Equipment:
The next step is to replace the inefficient systems and equipment with high efficiency type such as: replacing old chiller or boiler with new high efficiency type, replacing the old lights with new LED type…etc and this is can be done after conducting energy audit to the organization buildings. Further, replacing petrol vehicles with electric vehicles can be done under this step.
Improving the efficiency of the existing systems and equipment requires high capital cost and therefore, it take some time to be achieved and it depends on the organization available budget for these changes. However, there are many government grants and financial sources that can help in this step and make the changes more affordable to the organization.
- Install Renewable Energy Systems:
After we cut the waste and improve the efficiency of the existing system and equipment, we need to install renewable energy sources such as solar PV system to reduce the carbon emissions of the organization.
Renewable energy systems require high capital cost and the organization has many grants and financial options as we mentioned above to help them install such systems.
- Environment Conscious Procurement:
The procurement department staff of the organization should be environment conscious and they should be involved in this plan so they can procure high efficiency systems and equipment for the organization that reduce the carbon emissions.
- Offsetting the Remaining Carbon Emissions:
Now after we have cut the waste, improved the efficiency of the existing systems, installed renewable energy system and make sure our new procured systems are efficient, we need to offset the remaining carbon emissions to achieve net zero emissions. This can be done either by buying carbon credits or by sourcing green power or by both.
If you need help with your net zero carbon emissions plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us.