Net zero: what does this mean?

15th September 2021
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Net zero: what does this mean?

The construction industry currently accounts for nearly half of the UK’s total carbon emissions and this is why it’s become an important topic. As the conversation turns to how we can be more sustainable in order to secure a better future for the next generation, net zero and operational net zero are buzzwords we hear all the time, but what do they mean? 

Net zero carbon

Put simply, net zero refers to the balance between the amount of carbon dioxide produced, and the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. So we reach net zero when the amount that we add to the atmosphere is no more than the amount being taken away. 

Operational net zero carbon

So this means the carbon produced by a building once it is operational. For example, in a home this would be the carbon dioxide produced from energy bills and cooking. In order to reduce this, the construction industry needs to be working this into the design of the building. Ensuring that the home is built with energy efficient heating systems and with built in cookers that can filter out any energy used in cooking. 

For companies in every sector around the world, tackling climate change is at the top of the agenda. The UK currently has a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but there are criticisms that this will be too late. But why is it important? Reaching net zero is the best way that we can tackle climate change and reduce the effects of global warming. What we do, and the way we do things, in the next ten years will be critical to the future. 

We need serious changes to be made in government policies to drive change and are asking the government to direct their investment towards green technologies and other innovative ways we can decarbonise the industry a large part of our country relies on. We also need construction companies to find ways to reduce emissions at and before the construction process. 

In MMC we can look at implementing sustainable features at the design stages but too many companies do the bare minimum and this needs to change. What do you think needs to be done? You can vote in the active poll on our LinkedIn page and comment your thoughts below. 

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