Energy use accounts for 36 billion tonnes of global greenhouse emissions. How can we make easy but significant changes?

Energy use accounts for 36 billion tonnes of global greenhouse emissions. How can we make easy but significant changes?

Greenhouse emissions have long been a talking point within the property sector. At countless property events over the last five or so years, ESG has formed a significant part of the conversation. But much of that conversation has on occasion been stymied by a lack of meaningful and consistent political leadership?

With a lack of consistent political direction, industry has been left to its own devices to second guess policy and lead the change. There have been 15 Ministers of State for housing since 2010 with the average tenure of the last six being under six months each. This has created challenges for industry without a long term vision and agreed goals. So what baby footsteps can we take that will make a significant impact, and not require risky investment strategies without the required political guidance?

To determine how we can most effectively reduce emissions it is key that we first understand where our emissions come from. Of the almost 50 billion tonnes of global greenhouse emissions, 1.7% was from the airline industry. 1.6% from the shipping industry. By comparison, energy use in residential buildings was 10.9% of the global total. The total for energy use across the transport, building and industry sectors was a massive 73.2% of all greenhouse gas emissions1.

We can break this down further in to life cycle stages. It is estimated that the manufacturing of a fridge freezer accounts for 350kgs of CO2e2. This of course needs to be split over the lifetime of the appliance. Importantly the lifetime can be extended using a proactive management approach, and via a circular economy model. The power usage of the appliance varies based on environmental factors, but the greatest immediate impact comes from choosing energy efficient models. The Iterum Planet Mark report shows a 41% carbon saving can be achieved using an appliance with an energy rating label of A over the average C or D rating on a refrigerator3.

But what do we mean by a circular economy model and does it matter? Industry has traditionally taken materials from the earth, made products from them, and eventually thrown them away at the end of their useful life. This process is linear. In a circular economy we stop waste being produced in the first place. The circular economy transforms every element of our take-make-waste system by adjusting how we manage the lifecycle of an asset and what we do with the materials at the end of their ‘first’ life. A circular economy aims to keep materials, components, and products “at their highest utility and value”4 longer.

Iterum provides hardware-as-a-service appliances. As seen above, using energy rated A appliances has a direct impact on the power usage and therefore both the carbon emission sand energy costs. An academic report noted “[The authors] found out that from an economic perspective, circular business models lead to the reduction of overall costs, [and] from an environmental perspective, circular business models lead to improvements in resource efficiency and reductions of environmental impacts….”5

In addition to using the highest rated appliances, Iterum are developing Iterum IQ an asset management tracking tool which optimises appliances across a portfolio with the potential to measure power and water consumption. By providing insights in to usage allows a preventative approach to maintenance and repair. The platform is semi-customisable and currently in development with the first live version being on-boarded by one of the largest BTR operators in the U.K.

Preventative maintenance extends the lifetime of the assets before swapping out assets that are in need of repair or upgrade, which are then sent to our partner teams for refurbishment to then be used in the secondary market. This can extend the lifecycle of the assets typically by 40%. The Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Corporate Net-Zero Standard is a globally recognized standard for achieving net zero. And whilst there are still significant challenges on embedded carbon within construction, or a huge cost implication via an upfront investment on a fast developing sector to provide green energy, small changes such as how we source, manage and recycle appliances can have a significant positive impact our journey towards net zero.

To find out how Iterum can offer you a more cost and carbon efficient way of managing appliances across your portfolio, try our carbon calculator:

#CircularEconomy #ESG #Sustainability#CarbonReduction #Iterum

1 Our World Data, Hannah Ritchie, September 2020

2 The Ethical Consumer, Alex Crumbie, May 2021

3 Planet Mark , Iterum Appliance Report, May 2024

4 Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2013

5 A Tukker, 2015