Priva UK’s Quick Guide to the Public Sector Net Zero Estate Playbook

Guide to the Public Sector Net Zero Estate Playbook: What does this mean for Britain’s biggest property estate?

The Cabinet Office recently launched its Net Zero Estate (NZE) Playbook to reduce carbon emissions from public buildings. In our latest blog we look at what it means for Britain’s biggest property estate.

What is the Net Zero Estate Playbook?

The Net Zero Estate Playbook offers guidance and best practice on how the public sector can reduce carbon emissions from its buildings. It has been written to help property professionals understand the current emissions and energy use across their portfolios and steps they need to take in designing and implementing solutions and how to monitor emissions in the transition towards Net Zero.

Who can use the Net Zero Estate Playbook?

The Net Zero Estate Playbook can be used by anyone responsible for the management of a government property, including offices, hospitals, prisons and job centres.

It the Net Zero Estate Playbook just for new buildings?

No, the guidance can be applied to both existing and new properties. The playbook provides advice on how to minimise emissions from maintenance and repair projects, retrofitting buildings, major refurbishment projects and new build construction.

What targets is the Government working to?

The public estate accounts for 2% of the country’s total building-related carbon emissions. The Net Zero Estate Playbook has been designed to support existing government policies for achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050, including the 25-Year Environmental Plan, the Greening Government Commitments, and the Net Zero Strategy. By using the guidance, the aim is to work towards a target of delivering a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035.

What does the Net Zero Estate playbook mean for Building Services?

The Net Zero Estate Playbook will ensure there is a consistent approach to delivering carbon reduction and using greener building materials and products – including: BMS systems, heat pumps, solar, low carbon heating and energy efficiency, and LED lighting – across the government estate. However, noting that different buildings need different solutions, the playbook has a technology neutral approach. In order to find the right solution, property professionals are urged to carry out detailed assessments before implementing low-carbon improvements.

Will there be updates to the Net Zero Estate Playbook?

Yes. In publishing the Net Zero Estate Playbook, the Cabinet Office recognises that decarbonisation will not happen overnight and change needs to be delivered over time. Therefore, the guidance will be updated at regular interviews as new information on improving building performance becomes available.

What does the Net Zero Playbook say about BMS technology?

The Playbook lists BMS technology within what it calls ‘No Regret Works’ on page 36 of the document. It says BMS tech (like LED lighting) “contributes to supporting demand reduction of any energy scope (1 or 2) – and it will support managing network constraints”. In terms of investing in BMS tech – or upgrading it, the Playbook accepts that this is more complex to do than some of the other low carbon tech retrofits. The Playbook says: “Some works such as installing or upgrading a BMS may be more complex and require greater consideration at the design phase. Therefore, this may require a capital works team to oversee the work. In both instances some sort of feasibility and design work is likely to be needed before moving to implementation.”

How can Priva help the public sector?

Alongside our Approved Priva Partners, we have delivered energy efficiency and decarbonisation upgrades to many public sector and civic buildings – ranging from offices to MoD sites, schools, museums, hospitals and heritage assets. We’re only too happy to offer advice and guidance to anyone who is looking for support with BMS / controls based retrofit projects – please contact us to find out more.

The full guide can be downloaded here.

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