Develop and implement a decarbonization roadmap outlining key actions and milestones
To develop, maintain and update an implementation plan for achieving the Commitment, aligned with the Advancing Net Zero Framework. The building performance metrics from the disclosure process are key to achieving this outcome. Through developing this plan, the entity will identify and implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy targets and milestones demonstrating a decarbonization trajectory for their assets and portfolio, which are technically feasible, economically viable, substantive and verifiable to achieve the goals of the Commitment.
Policy Pathway: Develop, maintain and update an implementation plan (for policies and regulations) demonstrating a decarbonization roadmap trajectory for all new and existing buildings
Municipal/Government Building Pathway: Develop, maintain and update an implementation plan demonstrating a decarbonization roadmap trajectory for all new and existing buildings within portfolio
Develop and implement a carbon emissions reduction strategy that includes energy demand reduction targets, building measures to decarbonize grids, and renewable energy procurement at both the asset and portfolio level
Energy Efficiency Measures
The Commitment values energy efficiency as a fundamental requirement of reaching net zero carbon for buildings and a necessary first step towards decarbonization. Energy efficiency allows for a decoupling of economic growth from energy consumption, offers greater flexibility in decarbonization strategies and has high positive societal impacts. Globally, energy efficiency measures could contribute a 48% reduction in global emissions by 2030, with 43% of those coming from buildings, resulting in cumulative savings of $2.5 - $2.8 trillion USD.
A holistic conceptual analysis is encouraged at both asset and portfolio level to give an accurate picture of what energy efficiency solutions are appropriate to the entity, technically feasible and economically viable. These asset and portfolio energy efficiency measures should be further developed, evaluated and detailed through the course of the implementation plan and are expected to contribute significantly towards the goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by reducing operational costs, limiting reliance on renewable energy and minimizing excessive loads on grid infrastructure, where reasonable.
The chosen framework or evaluation metric is entirely up to the entity and based on their own strategic analysis of their business. The energy efficiency measures can also be determined from third-party certification (eg BREEAM, DGNB, Green Star, HQE, LEED etc) whereby they contain locally relevant and best practice building energy efficiency requirements. Locally relevant standards, targets or energy use intensities (EUI’s) for energy efficiency of net zero buildings can be used to inform the measures that would be appropriate and contribute significantly to reducing energy demand for the entity’s assets and portfolio. Where asset certification is not used, the entity must detail through corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting how the energy efficiency measures have contributed to the trajectory of the decarbonization roadmap.
Renewable energy procurement and building measures which decarbonize grids
As entities develop the implementation plan embedding energy efficiency and renewable procurement targets, careful consideration must be given to the implementation of building measures which will minimize adverse effects on the grid. It has been shown that a large proportion of on-site renewables in certain regions can lead to curtailment effects on local grids.
The Commitment is not prescriptive about which solutions should be embedded in the roadmap or what process should be followed as this is intended to be determined by the entity. While the Commitment allows for flexibility with this approach, some guidance for renewable procurement and building measures is provided below to assist decision-making for the implementation plan. The decision tree shown below demonstrates a general process for evaluating the renewable and building measure strategies needed to achieve net zero carbon:
Renewable procurement As per principle three of the Advancing Net Zero Framework, entities should follow a renewable hierarchy where feasible. This includes renewable electricity, produced either on-site or off-site, or by offsets; with generating supply to the local grid. Furthermore, this must be complementary with building measures which serve to decarbonize the grid as much as possible. Entities should include the best possible renewable hierarchy for their portfolio to reduce associated offset costs and maximize the decarbonization of grid.
Building measures to decarbonize grids An entity will determine what building measures in the form of initiatives (eg peak demand reduction) and technologies (eg battery storage) are appropriate to be incorporated into their implementation plan for the asset(s) and portfolio. Entities should evaluate the inclusion of building measures based on whether they contribute to creating a more integrated system, which improves energy efficiency and minimizes the cost and amount of renewable energy procured.
Decarbonization roadmap and implementation plan
Decarbonization roadmap A decarbonization roadmap is the projected timeline of the Commitment and will identify key milestones to determine actions and timeframes for strategies within the implementation plan, based on the unique portfolio working baseline. Milestones could relate to the entity’s energy efficiency and renewable energy targets and by when they will be met.
Implementation plan An implementation plan is a document that is to be developed, maintained and updated during the Commitment. It should contain the relevant entity’s strategies to achieve the milestones laid out in the decarbonization roadmap, their impact (in terms of cost, tCO2e) and relevant time frames for implementation. Through verification as outlined in the Commitment, these metrics are intended to feedback into this document to inform an update to the plan and realign the strategies and workflow. The plan is intended to be applicable to all associated building occupants (eg tenants, managers etc) to detail the actions that will be relevant to their operations.
It is recommended that the roles and responsibilities are laid out clearly for each strategy. For example:
- owner: sign off on more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
- facilities manager: operations training, training in best practice efficiency and maintenance processes, provide tenant with user guide
- tenant: attend session on efficient use of control system. Receive user guide. Alert facilities manager to any sub-optimal performance
Eligible carbon offsets (emission reductions)
The Commitment has determined a hierarchy of eligible offsets, so as to prioritize offsets from renewable offset sources first and foremost followed by other non-renewable offset sources if necessary. Offsets must also be procured from the same region as the asset is based in as much as possible to reduce adverse emissions impacts and create regional imbalance.
The following principles provide best practice guidelines of determining the eligibility of procurement of a carbon offset:
- Additional - The offset unit must result in emissions reductions that are unlikely to occur in the ordinary course of events, including due to any existing commitment or target publicly agreed by the entity responsible for issuing the units. It must represent abatement that has not been double counted
- Permanent - The offset unit must represent permanent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of sinks, this requires that the carbon stored is sequestered and will not be released into the atmosphere for a period of 100 years. Where a period of less than 100 years is applied to sequestration units, an appropriate discount must be applied
- Measurable - Methods used to quantify the amount of emissions reductions generated must be supported by clear and convincing evidence
- Transparent - Consumers and other interested stakeholders must have access to information about the offset project that generated the abatement, including the applied methodology and project- monitoring arrangements
- Address leakage - The system responsible for generating the offset unit must provide deductions for any material increases in emissions elsewhere which nullify or reduce the abatement that would otherwise be represented by the offset unit
- Independently verified - The circumstances responsible for the generation of the unit must be verified by an independent, appropriately qualified third party and not found to be in contradiction with these integrity principles
- Registered - The offset unit must be listed and tracked in a publicly transparent registry
- Local - The offset must occur within the same national boundary as the entity’s asset seeking
The following is a common list of methods that are recognized as best practice and can be used for both procurement of renewable energy and offsets. The methods in this section are separated into the same categories as for the principles and are as follows:
- Renewable energy procurement - Self-generated renewable energy OR Purchased renewable energy
- Carbon offsets
The methods are listed in the recommended order of implementation. This order incorporates the hierarchical approach of the Commitment by requiring renewable energy procurement first before renewable energy offsets followed by non-renewable energy offsets.
The entity is strongly encouraged to procure renewable offsets as much as possible. The entity is encouraged to determine from this guidance what is feasible from top to bottom for their assets and portfolio while considering the role selected building measures will need to play to facilitate decarbonization of the grid. This approach is intended to help to transform away from reliance on fossil fuel intensive utilities, accelerate market transformation and decarbonization of the grid.
For renewable energy procurement
The hierarchy for procurement of renewables in most cases will follow on-site, off-site and then offset.
Where this is not the case for certain regions, due to grid curtailment effects, the entity should consult their local GBC on the right procurement methods and hierarchy for their region.
For all others, the following hierarchy of methods has been adapted from the RE100: Technical Criteria for maximum alignment with best practice guidelines. To understand the necessary claims needed for each method, see the RE100: Technical Criteria document for further information or consult your local GBC.
Self-generated renewable energy
- Generation from installations owned by the company
- This option includes renewable electricity produced from installations that are owned by the entity, onsite or offsite, connected to the local grid or entirely off-grid. For this option, an entity shall disclose the amount of renewable electricity generated, consumed, and certificates produced.
- Purchase from on-site installations owned by a supplier
- In this option, electricity generated from on-site facilities owned and operated by a supplier is consumed by the company. The renewable electricity consumption claimed by an entity using this option shall be backed by an electricity supply contract with the supplier.
- Direct line from an off-site generator with no grid transfers
- This option includes renewable electricity produced from off-site installations owned and operated by a third party and delivered to the entity via a direct line, with no grid transfers. The renewable electricity consumption claimed by an entity using this option shall be backed by an electricity supply contract with the project owners and operators.
- Direct procurement from offsite grid-connected generators
- A direct procurement contract, also known as power purchase agreement (or PPA), is an agreement signed between a purchaser (the entity buying the energy) and a power producer. The contract ensures the purchase of electricity generated by a specific renewable project with renewable attributes.
- Contract with suppliers (green electricity products) definition
- In a contract for electricity procurement the supplier (a utility, or other power developer or market entity) matches the electricity consumed by the entity and delivered through the grid with renewable electricity produced or purchased from a variety of sources and projects, or a specified project or set of projects. Contracts can be structured in different ways with respect to the quantity and quality of renewable electricity offered to the consumer. Certain contracts of this kind are known as green electricity products (or tariffs). Consult your local GBC for a list of providers in your region.
- Unbundled energy attribute certificate purchase definition
- Entities are encouraged to procure PPAs where possible but, in other circumstances, entities can claim the environmental benefits of renewable energy production by acquiring electricity attribute certificates issued by renewable electricity generators operating within the same market boundary as the claimant. Entities may purchase unbundled certificates like RECs (North America), Guarantees of Origin (Europe) and I-RECs (other regions) separately from electricity to match with their electricity consumption from non-renewable sources.
For carbon offsets: emissions reductions
The following offset units can be used as part of the Commitment:
- Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) issued as per the rules of the Kyoto Protocol from Clean Development Mechanism projects, with the exception of:
- long-term (lCERs) and temporary (tCERs); and
- CERs from nuclear projects, the destruction of trifluoromethane, the destruction of nitrous oxide from adipic acid plants or from large-scale hydro-electric projects not consistent with criteria adopted by the EU (based on the World Commission on Dams guidelines)
- Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) issued by the Gold Standard
- Abatement recognised by the Gold Standard may be subject to the possibility of double counting; for example, where the abatement occurs in a host country or region that is affected by international or national emissions trading, cap and trade or carbon tax mechanisms. Please see the Gold Standard’s Double Counting Guideline for full details
- Where the additionality of a VER is ensured through the cancellation of an Eligible Cancellation Unit (as defined by the Gold Standard), that VER is only eligible for use in this Commitment where the applicable Eligible Cancellation Unit would also have been eligible under this Commitment
Emission reduction schemes
- Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) issued by the Verified Carbon Standard
- Removal Units (RMUs) issued by a Kyoto Protocol country on the basis of land use, land-use change and forestry activities under Article 3.3 or Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol
Where a carbon offset is not part of the above list but an entity believes that it can be used, then it must comply with and be verified against the principles for carbon offsets outlined above and then be submitted as an alternative claim.
© World Green Building Council 2016-2021
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