May 10th 2024

Don McLean in Energy Manager: With major targets scrapped, what’s next for net zero – and what does it really mean in 2024?

Don McLean in Energy Manager: With major targets scrapped, what’s next for net zero – and what does it really mean in 2024?

IES CEO Don McLean is featured in this month's Energy Manager Magazine, with an article discussing the recent scrapping of the Scottish government’s net-zero targets and what it means for decarbonisation and mitigating climate change. Below is an extract, with the full article available on page 18 of the May 2024 print and digital edition of Energy Manager.

It’s both disappointing and concerning to see Scotland’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 recently declared beyond reach – and now officially scrapped. However, were these targets ever realistic?

We’re at a critical stage for climate change, and this announcement – coupled with the news that Ministers have missed so many annual targets – sends the wrong signal to the people and businesses that will be integral to bringing about change. But we must continue to look ahead; backtracking on targets doesn’t take away the time sensitivity of the issue. Our planet is walking a plank that’s getting increasingly shorter every day.

We’ve seen an encouraging trend in organisations acknowledging that while the government isn't going to 'do' it for them, they can act with autonomy. Carbon-intensive industries are where we can make the biggest difference – and the built environment is a major player in this regard. Given that a significant 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions derive from the built environment, reducing energy consumption and tackling the harmful outputs of the places in which we live and work can go some way to addressing the global issue at hand.

The key thing is to make the ‘how’ as simple as possible – from cutting costs to making decisions much simpler. But with ‘net zero’ now a heavily politicised term, and conversations – and misinformation – around everything from heat pumps to solar panels rife, building owners may not know where to begin.

This is where data should come into the decision-making process, enabling building owners to shape good intentions into decarbonisation strategies and avoid a costly ‘stab in the dark’ when it comes to cutting energy consumption and emissions.

Creating digital twins of buildings means we can model operational scenarios and select the best way to move forward. Compliance energy models that have been archived can be re-awakened, taken through further modelling, and transformed into Performance Digital Twins for in-use building evaluation. This enables building owners to analyse where the most energy is being used and how, informing decisions around how to reduce it.

Read full article (P18)

IES recently launched a free new guide exploring the practicalities of creating performance digital twins to improve the performance of existing buildings. The guide aims to offer practical advice to address the findings of our recent Sleeping Digital Twins whitepaper, which highlighted difficulties in accessing existing models as a main barrier to realising our vision for the better utilisation of energy models throughout the building lifecycle on the route to decarbonise.

Download the guide