As well as businesses and private properties, churches, community centres and schools need to be part of the climate change solution and journey towards a Net Zero world. The UK has 300,000 public buildings that contribute 3% of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, but reducing this can be a challenge because of the way traditional buildings have been designed.
Community spaces include community centres, libraries, parks, community gardens, and more. While there is no need to worry about thermal comfort in a community garden - at least not the kind that requires carbon emissions - it is a concern for indoor community spaces of all kinds.
Public sector bodies as well as businesses need to quickly embrace Net Zero targets since 3% of the UK's carbon emissions come from its 300,000 properties. But balancing thermal comfort with Net Zero can be tricky as old buildings are not energy efficient, nor is their general usage.
Of course, community spaces are crucial to the wellbeing of society, they create a place where local people can connect, communicate, plan, and resource themselves for the present and the future; but often, these spaces have inefficient energy usage for their infrequent gatherings.
It’s important that community members are comfortable during meetings and gatherings so the buildings need to sustain their heat and lights for longer than is strictly necessary; so focusing on decarbonising community spaces is a key feature of Net Zero efforts in the UK and beyond.
Net Zero Efforts
In order to reach Net Zero by 2050, global carbon emissions and greenhouse gases need to be reduced by 45%. If the greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 45% in this time frame global temperatures will remain at 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels societies in the late 1800s.
Achieving this goal will help the planet and its citizens to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but it won’t be easy. In order to reduce emissions by this substantial margin, the world of commerce, public bodies, and individual people need to unite and support Net Zero efforts.
One of the fundamentals of Net Zero efforts is energy efficiency. Every time someone switches on the heating in a home, office, or public building they are using energy in the form of heat or electricity that requires carbon to produce. It’s important that we use this energy economically.
Community spaces are an indispensable part of local societies, but they also need to contribute to Net Zero efforts and the drive towards the UN’s 2050 target. The good news is, there are several ways that community spaces can do more to reduce emissions and save on energy.
Traditional buildings like churches, community centres, and schools can be hard to move to Net Zero because of their designs; that said, partnering with The Surefoot Effect and HeatHack is a practical way forward. The Surefoot Effect and HeatHack are offering a program to community operators to help them create energy efficiency practices and thermal comfort in their buildings.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.