Watch Your Carbon Footprint: Looking At A Sustainable Workplace

Given that buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for 30 per cent of total global final energy consumption and 27 per cent of total energy sector emissions, building a sustainable workplace is the giant first step towards reducing our carbon footprint


We are living in a world where the hottest summer of our life so far will also be the coolest summer of the rest of our life. Today, we are witnessing climate changes that have broken all previous records. The ozone hole over Antarctica has grown larger than ever before, the sea levels have never been higher, and for the first time ever it’s rained on the world’s highest ice sheet in Greenland.

Now, as we are opening our eyes to it, we are also acknowledging that the responsibility to resolve this crisis doesn’t just lie with governments but all of us. And, as businesses, there’s much we can do to help save the planet.

Given that buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for 30 per cent of total global final energy consumption and 27 per cent of total energy sector emissions, building a sustainable workplace is the giant first step towards reducing our carbon footprint.

Solving the CO2 emissions problem with net zero buildings

Net zero indicates a balance between emissions produced and emissions removed, in other words, neutralizing the two. The non-profit Net Zero Tracker reports 797 of the 2000+ largest publicly traded companies have committed to the net zero standard.

How we reduce carbon emissions in buildings will be crucial in businesses achieving net zero emissions. Net Zero or Zero Carbon buildings make the most of cost-effective technology to not just reduce emission but also bring about equity in local communities while also improving overall health of those using such buildings as well as those outside of it. Such buildings use low-carbon or recycled material during construction and eliminate fossil fuel by using renewable energy to, quite literally, keep the lights on.

According to World Economic Forum, the four cornerstones of Net Zero buildings are decarbonisation, electrification, efficiency, digitalisation. Working in combination, these cornerstones can help use energy efficiently, reduce carbon emissions as well as bring down the cost of building operations and the infrastructure that supports it.

Decarbonising with digital and connected technologies

IoT technologies have reached a state of such maturity today that if leveraged right, they can be used to successfully create a sustainable workplace. Whether in a smart office building or a connected factory, digital technologies can help (and have been helping) in decarbonising operations in all kinds of workplaces. 

Digital twins have been empowering people in back offices to liaise with frontline workers in distant manufacturing units without having to take multiple flights. IIoT has made it possible for even the most traditional plants to run their equipment in a more energy efficient manner and thus help reduce carbon emissions.

Energy efficiency and the path to Net Zero

There is little doubt that electricity is the fastest road to a cleaner and smarter energy. Electricity 4.0 – when electricity and digital meet at scale – is the next wave powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Software connecting IoT sensors and meters to automated monitoring is helping businesses use energy more efficiently. Whether in smart buildings or in smart manufacturing plants, Electricity 4.0 is digitalising our entire energy ecosystem and helping reduce energy wastage caused due to inefficiencies.

Connected workplaces aren’t the future. They’re here already!

AI solutions are making all aspects of a business efficient. Digital solutions are improving asset reliability by ensuring predictive maintenance, increasing operational efficiency by designing out redundancies, optimising supply chains to reduce carbon footprint, and decreasing waste while simultaneously increasing competency.

But they’re also helping companies achieve something else. They’re making them cool.

Several studies have revealed that Millennial and Gen Z employees seek to work in organisations that resonate with their beliefs in creating a better and cleaner world. A company that invests in net zero practices is not just creating energy efficiency but demonstrating that it cares for its employees.

It also helps that energy efficient buildings provide better work environments, with designs that support conducive working conditions and therefore creates better employee engagement. 

As a nation, our vision is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070. We want to create a zero-carbon built environment that promotes equitable wellness and resilience. As businesses we can contribute towards this goal by embracing digital wholeheartedly. 

Technology companies, the scientific community and commercial establishments must continue to work hand in hand in finding solutions that are practical, affordable and have a clear impact on cleaning up the environment and making the world a better place.

(The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)

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