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A comprehensive and future proofed approach to net zero action

8 Feb 2024

Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez


Decarbonisation, and particularly the journey towards net zero, can feel daunting. These feelings are particularly poignant in the built environment sector, which finds itself at a series of increasingly pivotal junctures in its trajectory to a low impact future. One of the first steps to clearing the pathway to net zero is understanding its various components. Director of Sustainability and Energy, Jose Hernandez, considers a number of these contributing and influencing factors, and provides insight on a newly opened framework that public sector organisations can use to access support.


Defining net zero

Through our work with numerous local authorities and built environment clients, we understand the importance of creating a robust, broad and future proofed strategy for decarbonisation and net zero.

Defining net zero in the context of an organisation is typically the starting point. Once definitions are agreed, the focal points for many then tend to be the standards and guidance offered by those such as LETI or EnerPHit, which offer us a framework for building energy performance. Through Pick Everard’s work in designing and delivering estate decarbonisation schemes, we know that operational energy is incredibly important, especially as more than 80% of our building stock in 2050 is already in place.

However, the operational decarbonisation of assets is just one of many systems that need to come together to achieve the right long-term outcome.

The influence of future climates

For example, developing a net zero strategy without a clear understanding of future climatic trends, lays the foundation for economic, social and environmental vulnerability and risk.

Pick Everard’s sustainability, engineering and cost specialists collaborate through the use of ISO14091 and industry-recognised climate data to assess the potential effects of future weather systems. We work to deeply understand our clients’ assets, people, ecosystems and value chains, so the financial consequences of inaction (or, equally, ineffective action) can be calculated and responded to. It is upon this information that effective mitigation responses can be taken and tied directly to net zero action.

Circular economy

Circular practices are often an overlooked ‘key’ to our clients net zero goals: the way we manage manufactured products alongside food, agricultural goods and natural resources, is well known to be up to 45% of the carbon challenge. Any organisation with assets or land, and particularly those that are seeking to acquire new products, premises or estates, must factor in mechanisms by which to use resources wisely, eliminate waste, and specify low impact and regenerative products as part of net zero outcomes.

Our circularity specialists work with our clients and their direct and value chain impacts to understand carbon hotspots, spheres of influence and effect and – among other actions – use procurement power to positively influence and incentivise change.

A just energy transition

Of course, no action to achieve a net zero future should be conducted without consideration of a just transition. Pick Everard’s social value team is increasingly working with central government and other clients to establish frameworks for social value outcomes, to ensure that no one gets left behind. Ensuring we appreciate both the current and future demographics of the local areas in which we work is an important step here.

Access support through ESPO

Our success with clients on net zero is one of the main reasons Pick Everard sought a place on the ESPO 500_23 - Consultancy for Decarbonisation and Net Zero Strategies Framework.

We have the capacity to offer a broad range of services within the framework, whilst delivering added value and facilitating time-saving benefits. It gives us the opportunity to work with an even broader range of organisations and projects on their journey to net zero.

We’re excited about the possibilities that our appointment to this new framework will create.

Interested to know more?

Get in touch with our team for further details on how we can help you with your next project.

Jose Hernandez - Director, Head Of Sustainability & Energy

Service areas within scope

  • Carbon footprinting, management and reduction
  • Development of Net Zero targets, roadmaps and action plans (including Science-Based Targets)
  • Heat Decarbonisation Plans, including grant funding applications
  • Whole life operational and embodied carbon studies
  • Carbon offsetting
  • Deep retrofit of buildings
  • Climate change adaptation and/or mitigation
  • Specification and design services
  • Energy strategies and master planning , including heat networks
  • Resource efficiency and behaviour change programmes
  • Sustainability advice (e.g. biodiversity, water-use, circularity, resource consumption, waste management, renewable energy)