It’s not easy being green

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The logistics industry is being asked to help in the battle to reduce carbon emissions by providing data on how it uses its warehouses.

The Industrial Developers Sustainability Forum, comprising developers such as ProLogis, Gazeley, Gladman and Goodman, is working closely with the Building Research Establishment to introduce a green assessment for industrial buildings in use. While speculative warehouses and those that are to be built can be relatively easily assessed and benchmarked, those in use are more difficult because there is so little data on how warehouses function in the real world.

The BREEAM In-Use scheme is aimed at helping building managers reduce the running costs and improve the environmental performance of existing buildings.

The data collection and assessment is being co-ordinated and led by Guy Battle of Dcarbon8, a carbon and sustainability consultancy. Dcarbon8 facilitated the development of a common methodology and benchmarking system for assessing the carbon impact of building products and total building carbon footprints. This methodology is due for release in the first quarter of 2010 and will ultimately lead to a framework for assessing the sustainability of key suppliers in the design and construction of warehouses.

To do the same for buildings that are already in use more data about how much carbon a working warehouse uses is required along the lines; energy used per sq metre in lighting, heating/cooling, CHP (Combined Heat & Power) etc. This information is the final piece of the puzzle to working out both the embodied and operational carbon used in logistics warehouses and will be used to help design further carbon-saving buildings in the future, as well as helping tenants and landlords to reduce carbon emissions and save money at the same time on existing buildings. More importantly it will help to prevent legislators from putting too onerous or unworkable targets on the industry too soon.

Following the work already carried out by the IDSF, developer ProLogis has announced that all newly developed UK build-to-suit warehouse buildings will be certified carbon neutral. Prompted by the government’s determination to reduce UK carbon emissions by 34 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020, ProLogis is the first industrial property company to make this commitment, helping occupiers to make a positive environmental impact immediately.

Environmental expert Simon de Grey from training and environmental company Pivotal Performance has already said that logistics and transport businesses should fight the red tape holding them back from implementing proper environmental plans – if they are to enjoy the benefits of “going green”.

He was responding to a new green survey which revealed four in five businesses say environmental issues are a high priority, but don’t have time to work on them. 58 per cent don’t have a green policy, and half of businesses surveyed put concerns over updating staff training and skills ahead of green concerns.

“Businesses are missing out on all the benefits of having and executing a proper environmental plan,” said de Grey.

To help Dcarbon8 collect data, contact Christina Wood on 020 7250 1551 or via e-mail at

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