Net Zero Targets: Facilities Management Sector and its Role in Driving Positive Changes

Net Zero Targets: Facilities Management Sector and its Role in Driving Positive Changes

By Gary Reader, General Manager at ServeU

Ever since the effects of human activities on the environment, especially the release of greenhouse gases that are driving global warming and climate change, are becoming more widely recognised, the concept of net zero has gained immense popularity.

Scientists, decision-makers, and the general public are all in agreement that quick action is required to cut greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the effects of climate change.

The idea of net zero emissions, therefore, seeks to strike a balance between the number of greenhouse gases generated and the volume removed from the atmosphere.

Given the influence the Facilities Management (FM) sector has on how energy is harnessed by the built environment, it is easy to comprehend how important FM firms will be in accomplishing net zero goals.

According to industry experts, the top energy-consuming sectors with non-domestic energy consumption are offices, retail, industrial, health, and hospitality.

This significantly increases the pressure on enterprises and their FM management to reduce their emissions in accordance with legislative standards. Businesses have consequently been under a lot of pressure to address this challenge and promote positive changes across operations.

While FM departments may not be solely in charge of putting net-zero strategies into action, they play a crucial role in making sure that new procedures are followed, and all stakeholders are committed to lowering emissions.

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FM specialists can significantly influence how stakeholders work together to modify practices and move towards net-zero goals.

This is also true since switching to cleaner, more effective building materials and technologies, as well as taking a holistic approach that considers all emission sources are necessary to achieve net-zero emission levels in the built environment.

There are numerous ways that stakeholders can contribute to the reduction of emissions, and FM professionals can play a significant role in supporting these efforts, such as in the use of heating and ventilation, waste management and recycling, and regulation of lighting and water usage.

FM professionals, for instance, can identify and implement methods to improve a building's energy efficiency, like upgrading the insulation, updating the lighting system, and installing smart building management systems.

Moreover, firms can encourage the adoption of sustainable energy sources to power buildings, such as solar, wind, or geothermal energy. These measures can significantly reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions, while also reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.

Effective waste management is also a critical aspect of the FM sector. Companies can help reduce the quantity of waste sent to landfills and thereby minimise greenhouse gas emissions by reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.

By sourcing products and materials with lower environmental impact, such as those made from recycled materials or created using renewable energy, FM companies can thus encourage sustainable procurement.

The industry can also encourage behavioural changes that promote sustainability, such as urging employees to reduce energy consumption and waste generation.

The effects of climate change are becoming evident, from extreme weather to rising sea levels. Companies that lower their emissions can aid in reducing these risks and safeguarding their operations in the future.

It is therefore certain that facility managers will be crucial to meeting net zero emission goals.

Additionally, it is critical that these FM companies collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy that involves setting targets, establishing regulations and standards, as well as monitoring the timely progress.

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