Net zero guide launched to aid energy procurement

Image: Al Orfali/Shutterstock

The way energy is procured for buildings has a critical role to play in achieving Net Zero goals, says the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

The organisation has today launched new guidance to provide, it says, the tools to make “informed energy procurement decisions”, which will help the “transition to a resilient, zero carbon electricity grid”.

As UKGBC points out, fully decarbonising the electricity system by 2035 is central to delivering Net Zero in the UK.

Buildings are responsible for over 60% of national electricity demand, meaning the built environment industry has a “critical role” to play in achieving this target. The way electricity is procured for buildings can accelerate the transition to a cleaner, greener energy system.

Yetunde Abdul, head of climate action at UKGBC, said: “Decarbonising the electricity system is a top priority for achieving Net Zero. Critical to enabling this, is understanding the active role our buildings and the way we procure energy must play.

“However, distinguishing the high-quality products that are supporting the energy system’s transition from the other ‘green’ offerings in the market is currently challenging.

“Our guidance provides industry with the much-needed tools to better understand their procurement options, benchmark the performance of their building’s electricity strategy, and effectively engage with energy suppliers to make more informed decisions.

“We strongly believe the collective voice of built environment stakeholders demanding more from their energy suppliers will be a powerful mechanism for driving change in the energy procurement sector, and improve the product offering for the entire industry.”

Key principles

Key aspects of the new guidance on Renewable Energy Procurement include:

  • Three principles for good quality renewable electricity procurement: Renewable, Additionality and Time-matched, along with actions to meet these principles
  • A toolkit to better engage with energy suppliers and source the information needed to compare the procurement routes available in the market
  • A rating system for assessing the performance of a building or organisation’s overall electricity strategy, including electricity procured from off site, as well as any onsite generation, demand management, and storage
  • A summary of procurement routes available in the market, with more detailed information on many of the power purchase agreement variants, as well as some of the factors that may affect an organisation’s ability to engage with certain procurement options

The guidance highlights the “urgent” need for greater collaboration between customers and their energy suppliers. It also notes a need for more transparency and better-quality information from suppliers about their products, to enable customers to make informed decisions about how and where they source their electricity.

UKGBC also outlines why market “evolution” is needed to incentivise building owners to operate their assets with greater flexibility, to minimise operational emissions while supporting a grid increasingly powered by intermittent wind and solar.

Rebekah Needham, associate director for renewable energy, at CBRE, said: “Moving towards a decarbonised electricity system and the procurement of renewable energy is a collective responsibility, since the procurement decisions made by one party – such as a landlord or occupier – can directly impact the decarbonisation progress made by the other.

“All those within real estate must be aligned and working towards the same net zero goal if we are to guarantee a successful transition.”

Image: Al Orfali/Shutterstock

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