The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which covered vulnerability and adaptation to the effects of climate change, suggested that any further delay in concerted global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to ensure a viable and sustainable environment. future for all.

We all know that is the case. Everyone listened to COP26 in Glasgow last year and it was very clear that it is up to us to make a change and in particular to decarbonize our existing buildings.

We also know what to do in many cases – switch quickly to clean energy, switch to low-carbon materials and manage buildings more sustainably.

But there are big challenges around data, cost and risk, because where there is risk, you have additional costs.

Climate finance alongside costs is notoriously difficult to define. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) estimated it would take £500 billion. When you look at the cost needed just to retrofit the UK’s 29 million homes, and what comes with that in terms of energy efficiency and improvements, the big question is where does that money come from?

The plan is that private investment will provide much of the financing needed to commercialize these early technologies and scale low-carbon sectors. Public finance provides the early investments, interventions and very clear signals that will create the conditions for this accelerated net zero carbon investment.

Adequate financing is truly essential to progress in decarbonization and zero carbon developments, but we often lack awareness of these upcoming opportunities. And this is one of the main obstacles preventing public institutions from accessing this funding.

Simply put, many of us don’t know where to find this funding or what the requirements are. There is no simple framework that you can refer to which system to access.

The good news is that there are plenty of funds available. If you take the low carbon skills fund, it’s basically designed to prepare organizations for the public sector decarbonization agenda.

The key is to ensure that all data is set up and ready to go, so that as soon as a funding portal becomes available, you are ready to submit and access that funding.

Adequate financing is truly essential to progress in decarbonization and zero carbon developments, but we often lack awareness of these upcoming opportunities. And this is one of the main obstacles preventing public institutions from accessing this funding.

But there are other constraints, such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund with a minimum request of £1m, which means you have to approach decarbonisation on a large enough scale to access this funding.

The fund really encourages the fabric-based approach which, along with fuel poverty and rising utility costs, is an absolutely essential part of the decarbonization journey.

Also, in the spring statement we heard, there is now a reduced rate on VAT from 5% to 0% on energy efficient products such as insulation, heat pumps and panels solar.

But like I said, in order to actually access that funding, you need the data in place and ready to go as soon as that portal opens, especially since most of it is based first come, first served.

The biggest challenge is often knowing where to start on the decarbonization journey. The SNC-Lavalin Decarbonomics proposal provides a very simple three-step Benchmark, Roadmap and Delivery process.

Benchmarking involves developing a carbon baseline, it provides access to real data and also benchmarking data to provide insight into the best solution, best cost and program solution to achieve a net zero carbon footprint.

I think it’s pretty critical that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonization. The necessary installations and adaptations will vary according to the sectors, subdivisions and building by building.

The roadmap stage is all about designing a cost-effective carbon reduction pathway. Look at funding opportunities alongside this and present a business case for actually moving to the delivery stage for net zero carbon.

And finally, Delivery. Implement these on-site carbon reduction solutions, from building retrofit to behavior change, and also measure progress throughout the portfolio and asset lifecycle.

In this Delivery section, it is really essential that we look at building local skills and delivery and what is the best delivery route. For example, for LED interventions, perhaps your existing facility managers are in charge. With slightly larger interventions such as PV and Renewables, it’s about making sure you have those supply routes in place and can get the financing right from the start.

I think it’s pretty critical that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to decarbonization. The necessary installations and adaptations will vary according to the sectors, subdivisions and building by building.

Very often, a good model for applying for funding is to consider running pilot projects and monitoring the effects of these, through measurement and verification, to see what would best meet your specific needs. And examine these innovations and experiments to provide the best possible business case.

Focusing on whole life value is also fundamental, which means thinking in a business case about the social, economic and environmental implications of the decarbonization process. And above all by giving priority to the environment.

But I think the key message is that funding decarbonization is a significant cost and it will take organizations many years to put that funding in the right places, so the right time to start is now.


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