Heat pumps and energy efficiency: Mitie plots path to net-zero buildings by 2025
After setting a 2025 net-zero target for operational emissions last year, facilities management firm Mitie has outlined how it plans to reduce emissions from its estate in line with this goal.
Mitie’s net-zero target was announced in February 2020 and covers all emissions from building operations, energy use, transportation and waste management.
Today, (12 August), the firm has built on a commitment to source 100% renewable electricity with details on bringing the remainder of its Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions associated with buildings to net-zero.
Mitie has committed to delivering four net-zero properties by the end of March 2023 and has selected warehouse and office locations in Birmingham, Glasgow, Nottingham and East Hampshire as priority buildings.
Three of these locations are currently fitted with gas heating systems, which account for a large portion of their operational emissions. These systems will be removed and replaced with heat pumps. Mitie has stated that it will apply learnings from heat pump installation and operation at these sites in developing plans for the rest of its buildings. Learnings will also be used to update advice provided to customers on low-carbon heating.
Aside from decarbonising heating, Mitie’s priority will be to improve building energy efficiency. It has conducted surveys of its entire estate and will fit energy-efficient LED lighting and improved insulation where needed. Additionally, many buildings will have their heating and cooling system controls adjusted, and teams of staff at all sites have been instructed to keep temperature and lighting levels at “those that offer the best balance between employee health and wellbeing and reducing energy use”.
Once the initial four buildings are tackled using this approach, Mitie will take action on low-carbon heating and energy efficiency improvements a further 14 sites each year. This timeframe is designed to bring all sites to net-zero by the end of the firm’s 2025 financial year.
Mitie is forecasting energy savings of 120,000 kWh annually as a result of the changes.
edie has reached out to Mitie for more information on how it plans to address any residual emissions from the operation of buildings, once the actions detailed above are completed. The team has also asked for clarity on how the firm will ensure any new builds delivered in the future will achieve net-zero in operation, and whether the commitment could be extended to embodied carbon.
“While there is often a lot of focus on the energy use of new buildings, given that 80% of the sites that will be in use in 2050 have already built, the decarbonisation and retrofitting of existing commercial properties will be essential to helping the UK meet its net-zero targets,” Mitie’s director of sustainability and social value Simon King said.
“We’re proud to be leading by example not only with our commitment to have a fully net-zero estate, but also by using our building management and sustainability expertise to cut the amount of energy we use in the first place.”
Prior to outlining new steps on energy efficiency today, Mitie had signed up for the Climate Group’s EP100 (Energy Productivity 100) initiative. EP100 members are required to either double their energy productivity – the economic output from every unit of energy consumed globally – within 25 years; implement energy management systems at all locations within 10 years or deliver buildings that are net-zero carbon in operation by 2030.
Learn more about low-carbon heating with edie's Masters series
Earlier this year, edie and Centrica Business Solutions collaborated to deliver a Masters series on low-carbon heat, exploring the practical considerations for businesses of all sizes and sectors in various formats.
The first component of the series is a free edie-explains guide on the topic, which is available to download here, answering FAQs and spotlighting case studies.
Also included in the series are a 45-minute Masterclass webinar, which can be accessed on-demand for free; a short downloadable report, summarising the webinar's key talking points; and an episode of edie's Net-Zero Business podcast, featuring exclusive interviews with the Heat Pump Federation's director for growth and external affairs Bean Beanland and Centrica Business Solutions' business development manager for heat pump solutions Michael Firth.