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On the 5th of December 2022, the New Zealand Government unveiled plans to introduce mandatory energy performance rating requirements for buildings. These new reporting requirements aim to bring greater transparency to the environmental impact of buildings in NZ.
And New Zealand isn’t the only country taking steps to foster transparency in environmental reporting. Australia, the UK, Ireland and others are all tightening reporting requirements, encouraging building owners and tenants to take accountability for their environmental impact.
Improving transparency in environmental reporting undoubtably supports a move to a greener future. However, achieving that transparency potentially creates a mountain of work for the teams tasked with managing facilities.
For facilities managers facing an ever-increasing list of reporting requirements, adding yet another layer could be cause for exasperation. However, the silver lining to these additional reporting responsibilities are the opportunities that data creates.
As asset management expert Hugo Zaat told FMI “asset management is about taking a long-term view of everything”. A sentiment particularly pertinent when it comes to reporting on the environmental impact of both assets and buildings.
A long-term reduction in the environmental impact of assets is not a case of going out and replacing an asset as soon as a more efficient version becomes available.
From purchasing, to repairs throughout its life, and finally disposal, every asset will have an environmental impact. For facilities teams, reducing environmental impact is about taking a long-term view of total asset lifecycle.
By gaining a better understanding of an asset’s performance, facilities teams can start to optimise the replacement of that asset. This optimisation process might start with making more conscious purchasing decisions, but certainly doesn’t end there.
Increased reporting requirements require additional data that can contribute significantly to improving asset management. For resource-constrained facilities teams aspiring to improve their asset management, additional reporting requirements drive a need to improve efficiencies in reporting processes.
With increased transparency and reporting requirements, it is more important than ever for businesses to take steps to reduce their environmental impact. For organisations to genuinely prioritise reducing their environmental impact, they’ll need the right data to make informed decisions.
This in turn, presents an opportunity for facilities teams to present business cases that underpin a desire to drive positive change.
Key to putting together a business case for any changes, is comparing cost with perceived benefit. For some assets, choosing a more environmentally-friendly option might come with a larger upfront expenditure that can’t be justified against competing priorities.
Historically, this posed a problem for facilities teams competing with other departments for their share of limited budgets.
As transparency increases, proper evaluation of the lifetime impact of an asset will creep up the priority list. Each asset replacement where a greener option is chosen has the potential to improve the businesses sustainability posture.
While additional reporting requirements might not feel like a win for facilities teams in the short term, the long-term benefits are something to be excited about.
Buildings and facilities often represent the lion’s share of carbon emissions for organisations. As governments around the world continue to introduce legislation aimed at increasing transparency, the role of the facilities team is more important than ever.
The insights gained through proper data management have the potential to accurately inform the business of their environmental impact.
At the heart of these insights is the data collected, organised and managed by facilities teams. Asset histories, maintenance works, lifetime performance and more all help to paint a picture of carbon emissions.
Through strategic data management and well-structured business cases, changes in reporting requirements could make facilities teams the eco-heroes of the future.
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