BLOG: What role do Landlords/Owners, Occupiers and Facilities Managers have to play in the transition to net zero?
Successfully reducing the whole life carbon impact of our buildings and infrastructure to reach net zero requires each and every actor across the value chain to actively consider how their carbon contribution can be minimised, with cross-sector collaboration a key part of this.
Published in November 2021, the UK Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap (or “The Roadmap”), sets out a carbon trajectory for the sector to reach net zero by 2050, as per our national climate commitments. The Stakeholder Action Plans are one of the project’s key outputs, detailing a series of immediate actions as well as outcomes to achieve by 2025 and 2030, for the 14 key stakeholders identified.
Recognising the urgency of the immediate actions listed within the action plans, and progress by 2025 and by 2030 being entirely dependent on action taken, UKGBC is running a series of workshops which will bring together several groups of stakeholders who typically work closely together on projects. The aim of these workshops is to understand progress towards the immediate actions to date, whether certain actions are not being progressed and any current barriers to the 2025 outcomes being achieved. Alongside this, industry experts representing each of the stakeholders will be sharing the progress made by their respective organisations, and how we can all make changes now to accelerate action. This blog follows on from a recent UKGBC workshop exploring the role of several key stakeholders, identified by the recent Roadmap in achieving net zero – covering the Landlords/ Owners, Occupiers and Facilities Managers / Maintenance stakeholder groups. See below for some important takeaways from the workshop, as well as key industry insights from some of our panellists.
Outcomes from the workshop
Overall, the majority of workshop attendees had an understanding of the immediate actions for their stakeholder group prior to the event, with 38% already having started progressing towards them. Some of the key actions for these stakeholder groups highlighted as key to achieving the 2025 and 2030 outcomes included:
- Closer collaboration between landlords and tenants – Helping to improve transparency in data measurement and reporting, thereby minimising operational energy use.
- Improving the measurement and reporting of data – Having adequate metering and sub-metering in place can help to inform decision-making as well as clarify responsibilities around data reporting. This can also feed into the development of sub-sector performance targets and peak limits.
- Develop, review and promote uptake of green leases – These are key to improving landlord/tenant relationships and collaboration, as well as embedding net zero carbon principles throughout the lifecycle of a building.
- Post-occupancy evaluation and interventions – This can help to inform building optimisation or improvements in building usage (e.g. through schemes such as NABERS UK), helping to minimise the performance gap and inform investment decisions.
- Upskilling the sector – In coming years, industry should focus on developing training programmes to attract younger professionals into the industry, such as through apprenticeships, local skills partnerships and working with relevant trade associations.
Some of the key areas in which UKGBC can support stakeholders to drive progress were highlighted; ranging from collaboration and clear guidance tailored to different audiences, to lobbying and information to help make the case for action.
Industry insights from the Panellists
Sylvie Sasaki, Sustainability Director – CBRE (Facilities Managers/Maintenance focus)
“ It was a very engaging facilities management stakeholder session on net zero whole life carbon and our conversation moved between product and process.
It’s clear this is a stakeholder group with an incredible grasp of knowledge, especially around the building’s plant and the occupants’ interaction with their internal environment. This is a group that knows the realities of buildings in their operation phase, and therefore being an integrated part of the discussions at design stages will support better outcomes.
The need for occupants to have a better understanding of how their internal environmental operates was discussed and a recurring theme was the need to move quickly if we’re to have an impact on future climate. “
Gillian Brown, Head of Property Sustainability – Office of Government Property (Occupiers focus )
“To transition to a net zero economy, the role of the building occupier must now change from a transactional and contractual relationship to one of a collaborative approach. Getting early buy-in for sustainable actions through ideas such as green leases right though to maintenance teams, collection and sharing of data and active dialogue between parties from both sides creates more potential for collaborative action. Education of both parties in the benefit of working together is key for future action.”
The Stakeholder Action Plans clearly demonstrate that every stakeholder across the built environment sector has a vital role to play in the transition to net zero. Importantly, they highlight that action must start today if we are to stand a chance to achieve our national climate targets. To find out more about how you can take action in your role, take a look at the Immediate Actions from the Roadmap.
Keep an eye out on UKGBC’s Courses & Events webpage to stay up to date on the plans for upcoming workshops.