Net zero and carbon neutrality
Net Zero is a target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, to be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The UK Government has set a target for the UK to be Net Zero by 2050.
Similar to Net Zero, but carbon neutral only refers to offsetting carbon dioxide rather than all the greenhouse gases, which also include methane and nitrous oxide.
In Greater Manchester, there is a target to become carbon neutral by 2038.
In line with the Greater Manchester target, we have committed to becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2038.
This means we need to emit virtually no carbon in our homes, our office buildings and within our supply chain.
What it means for Salix Homes
As a business, our carbon footprint (the amount of carbon we generate) is around 7,000 tonnes per year. But we have over 8,000 homes in Salford, and collectively they generate around 21,000 tonnes of carbon every year, which we will have to reduce to virtually zero.
The most challenging aspect will be achieving carbon neutrality in all our homes, many of which are older properties, and will require ‘green’ home upgrades and improvement work, such as insulation.
The electricity used to power our homes is only as clean as the energy which generates it, so until the electricity providers switch to greener alternatives, which is expected in the mid to late 2030s, then our homes will not be carbon neutral, and we have no control over this.
What we can do is ensure our homes are as energy efficient as possible and are ready for the transition to a cleaner energy source when the time comes.
It’s a big challenge and won’t be achieved overnight. As an organisation we will need to fundamentally change the way we operate.
With our homes, the first step is to bring all our properties up to EPC ‘C’ by 2030. Then we will be investigating how alternative heating systems and sources of renewable energy could be used in our future home improvement programmes.
We are already using ground source heat pumps at some of our tower blocks and our new Greenhaus development will create highly energy efficient and sustainable homes.
Looking to our business operations, we’ll be looking at various measures like using renewable energy sources for our offices, adopting alternative ways to travel, improving our waste management and recycling, and ensuring that we work with contractors who also have good carbon credentials.
Achieving carbon neutrality at Salix Homes
David Malsom is our sustainability manager, who is tasked with supporting us to cut our carbon footprint and oversee our journey to Net Zero. We sat down with David to find out what this means…