Blog: What is net zero and how is it achieved?
21st October 2020
Here at EcoCooling, we have been talking a lot about net-zero carbon recently, with an increasing number of businesses announcing their commitment to becoming net-zero in line with the UK’s legislated commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
With the NHS being one of the latest high profile organisations to announce its commitments to being carbon net zero, we delve into what this means and how it can be achieved.
What is net-zero carbon?
Unlike zero carbon, which requires an organisation to emit no carbon, net zero is about neutralising or offsetting the greenhouse gases that are emitted. Other terms such as carbon neutrality, net zero emissions and climate neutrality, are used to describe the same neutralisation of our activity on the ecosystem.
Edie says that net zero should ‘primarily be achieved through a rapid reduction in carbon emissions’, however for some activities, this is not possible. In these cases, offsetting through carbon credits, for example, can be used.
Why do net-zero targets matter?
The UK has a legislated commitment to be net-zero by 2050, so there is a pressure on organisations to play their part; however, it is the environmental implications that really matter.
Many companies already had emission reduction targets in place before the government made its commitments because they recognise the importance of reducing emissions to protect the planet. If not cut, the World Wildlife Fund explains that emissions will cause the temperature of the globe to continue to rise. In turn, this will cause our climate to change at an increasingly rapid pace with ‘frequent and extreme storms to unprecedented heatwaves’ becoming the norm.
What changes are needed to achieve net-zero?
Energy Live News describe the required changes as ‘demanding and disruptive’, with individuals, businesses and government each having a part to play. However, not all the changes will be hard to make; some changes are simply an alteration in routine or opting to buy something slightly different to before.
For companies, what is important is the implementation of measurable, incremental targets. Achieving neutrality is something that takes time, with some activities taking longer than others to neutralise, so it is vital to have a plan in place. Often tackling the easier changes first is best as they will have an immediate impact on the emissions, whilst working on the more challenging changes in the background.
Seeking greener alternatives
Some quick wins for businesses trying to achieve net-zero emissions can come from finding efficient alternatives to equipment that has a high level of energy consumption. Air conditioning is an example of a high energy product that can be swapped for a low energy alternative such as evaporative cooling.
LM Wind Power is an excellent example of a company that has made this change, swapping its air conditioning units for EcoCooling evaporative coolers. Through switching to low energy evaporative cooling, the manufacturer of wind turbine blades was able to substantially reduce the energy used to cool its factory and offices. This energy and cost-effective switch contributed to LM Wind Power reaching its ambitious carbon neutral commitment in August 2018.
If you are a business seeking a more environmentally friendly cooling solution that will assist you in achieving your net-zero targets, get in touch today.