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ENERGY MANAGEMENT & SUSTAINABILITY


CLIMATE CRISIS: HOW UK W


Climate change is an issue that will touch – and, increasingly, is touching – every aspect of our lives. It’s no different, says Richard Kauntze, CEO


Already, we are seeing the workplace be influenced by the challenges of climate change. Most noticeably, buildings are designed to meet BREEAM standards and contain a host of energy-saving features. However, these are just a start. The office of tomorrow will be shaped by our attempts to battle climate change. Future workplaces will not only be built to limit emissions, but be adapted to a new world of higher temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns.


Lower emissions through design The BCO’s new Guide to Specification, which gives guidelines for how a workplace should be designed, has an entire chapter dedicated to sustainability. It provides a useful resource for those looking to go green in their office operations.


As the guide outlines, there are many ways in which an office can reduce its environmental impact. Some are unsurprising. For instance, modern LED lighting can greatly reduce a building’s energy consumption. Others are perhaps less expected. A building can, as an example, reduce its energy consumption through smart landscaping that shields it from winds. In addition, new buildings can have a reduced carbon footprint using more sustainable materials, an area that the BCO will explore in upcoming research.


Ideas like these help lower emissions, but they don’t tackle the core issue. Buildings still require heating,


42 | TOMORROW’S FM


lighting and running and therefore use energy from the grid, energy that often still comes from fossil fuels.


However, this doesn’t have to be the case. The guide outlines how a building can begin to generate its own sustainable energy and heat. In-built solar panels can generate electricity, while solar thermal installations can store the sun’s rays to then heat water. Ground source heat pumps can store heat in the summer, and then use it to heat water in the winter. In less built-up areas, an office can feature wind turbines. These ideas are powerful because they help our sector contribute to a solution, rather than just manage an existing problem.


Preparing for a hot future We must, as touched on above, do all we can to make workplaces environmentally friendly. Yet we must also face the reality of a planet that is becoming environmentally unfriendly. It is estimated that there is only a 10% chance that the earth’s temperature will be kept below a 2° increase from pre-industrial temperatures, and just a 66% chance the earth temperature’s will be kept below a catastrophic 3° increase. Tomorrow’s weather is going to be warmer and less predictable than today’s.


This creates all sorts of problems for our industry. For a start, increased temperatures lead to increased demand for energy-guzzling air conditioning. A negative cycle ensues. One that must be broken.


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