Supply Chain School

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Energy and Carbon

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FM operates and maintains much of the UK’s built environment and therefore has a vital role to play in reducing energy and carbon.

Through the Climate Change Act, UK Government has committed the UK to an ambitious 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 based on 1990 levels. The UK has adopted a long-term legal framework for reducing emissions through a system of "five-year" carbon budgets, providing a clear pathway towards this 2050 target.

With about 45% of carbon emissions coming from general day to day use of the built environment, primarily through water and space heating, the need for FM to respond to these challenges is self-evident.   

Building regulations, energy performance certificates (EPCs) and display energy certificates (DECs) are vital components in reducing emissions and raising awareness of performance across the business and public sectors.

Carbon emissions from day to day use are however only part of the story. Embodied carbon must also be considered -  the carbon released from material extraction, transport, manufacturing, and related activities. This is not just for the buildings themselves, but for the products we buy. For example we look at food miles as a way of establishing the carbon involved in transporting our food purchases from the farm to the kitchen.

The main difference between embodied carbon and carbon foot-printing is that the term 'carbon footprint' can also be used to discuss operational carbon requirements, for example heating and lighting a building, or operation of a power tool. Embodied carbon is used in the context of materials and includes all activities related to the construction and maintenance of a building, including the extraction, production and transportation of materials.

Adapting to climate change means the FM industry needs to help adapt the buildings we live, work and play in as climate change and extreme weather events affect levels of rainfall, heat, and wind.


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