November 15, 2021

Net Zero: What are we doing?

What is Net Zero?

The UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) definition states Net Zero is “when the amount of carbon emissions associated with a building’s product and construction stages up to practical completion is zero or negative.” Once a building is operational, UKGBC defines net zero carbon as “when the amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy on an annual basis is zero or negative.”

What are our targets?

Our aim is to become Net Zero by 2030.

Britain has the following targets:
• 68% reduction of emissions by 2030
• 78% reduction of emissions by 2035
• Net Zero emissions by 2050

Sir David Attenborough is backing the government’s Net Zero goal of 2050 and has emphasised the balance of radical action and what is achievable. He is also pushing for further investment in the storage and transportation of renewable energy.

Working within the built environment, we will continuously be adapting to change and trying to mitigate the impact our projects and office buildings have. Good progress has been made to date and we will continue to monitor our progress as we continue our journey to Net Zero.


What are we doing as a business?

Our growing steering group have been holding monthly meetings which focus on Net Zero (one of our Top 10 Fitness Goals). The steering group have been aligning our professional services to develop conversations with clients around their aspirations and working towards delivering them. Project teams show a passion for reducing our carbon footprint whilst delivering sustainably built environments. Adopting the approach of Fabric First, we recommend environmentally friendly and sustainable materials to our clients.

Our teams continuously strive to decarbonise design solutions and we are actively working with Suffolk County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, and Derbyshire County Council to achieve their commitment to become Net Zero by 2030. We assisted the councils in their BREEAM strategy and decarbonisation grant application. Concertus’ website has been developed to align with Suffolk County Council’s ask for carbon neutral by 2030 and reflects the expanding services we offer.
We’re delivering two Passivhaus certified care homes – Hockliffe Road (one of the first registered Passivhaus care homes in the UK) and Steppingley Road (the largest registered Passivhaus care provision in the UK).
Accredited with ISO 14001, we develop policies and procedures to adhere to which aids our environmental awareness and contribution to reducing our impact on the environment.


What are we doing within our offices?

Our TM44 assessment measures our office buildings’ energy performance and sets environmental objectives for us to achieve. Each objective is placed on our tracker which monitors how and when we plan to achieve these objectives. We continue to reduce the negative impact our office buildings have by implementing practical solutions. Our carbon footprint and energy profile are reported to the Board on a quarterly basis.

• We promote recycling and raise awareness regularly, with recycling bins and signage throughout our offices, internal communications sent to employees, and training.
• Employees are encouraged to use less single-use plastic. Each employee has been given a branded metal drinking bottle and reusable shopping bag.
• We work with our waste supplier to ensure all office waste is disposed of responsibly.

• We annually record how employees travel to work.
• A Green Travel Plan is strongly promoted, which includes substantial discounts for employees that use public transport.
• Employees are encouraged to pre-plan journeys and avoid unnecessary and excessive travel.
• We encourage employees to car share where possible and report quarterly on project visits to check car share opportunities have not been missed.
• The use of electric cars is supported with electric car chargers located within the office car park.
• Employees are encouraged to bike to work with a bike to work scheme incentive, support with national bike to workdays, office cycle storage, showers, and lockers.
• We monitor scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions from our office building and employee mileage when visiting projects. This information is benchmarked to ensure we are performing within the industry standard.

Building Services
• Our office manual heating and air conditioning is only used when required.
• Air conditioning units in the office are serviced every 6 months.
• We use a supplier that has a renewable source of gas energy for our office.
• The office boilers are turned off in the summer months to save energy.
• We use a building management software. This software intelligently monitors the office thermometers and therefore will only heat or cool when necessary, ensuring we are controlling our energy usage.

Business Processes
• Employees are encouraged to use the office in an environmentally friendly way.
• A statement is included within our email signatures to ensure others consider the environment before printing.
• We monitor our printing figures and conduct regular auditing to ensure printing is kept to a minimum. The standard setting for printing when needed is black and white, and to print front and back.
• Local suppliers and contractors are chosen to reduce emissions.
• We purchase cleaning products which we then decant into smaller bottles. These smaller bottles are re-used to reduce our level of plastic waste.

What are our Future Plans?

• Release a pledge to commit to being a sustainable business.
• To release a carbon reduction plan, detailing how we plan to reduce our baseline figures and when.
• Employees will be undertaking training to enable them to advise our clients on their Net Zero goals.
• To become accredited with the Carbon Charter, a sustainable business network which will certify our commitment to adopting carbon reduction measures and sustainable business practices.
• Office car park light bulbs will be upgraded to LED to improve energy efficiency.
• We will be converting to PIR (presence detection for lighting) and daylight linking.
• An energy assessment will be carried out for the office building.
• Kill switches for electrical goods will be installed to make sure less energy is in use whilst these items are on standby.
• Hand dryers will replace paper towels in office bathrooms.
• Compost bins will be placed in our offices.
• Tree planting schemes will be implemented to cancel out the effects of our printing.
• We will continue to review our environmental business objectives.
• Development of key performance indicators to begin reporting to board.
• Implementation of supplier code of conduct with increased focus on sustainability.
• Implementation of measurements to enable recording.
• Increased employee training on how they can reduce their personal environmental impact.

Please continue to let us know your thoughts.