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Investing in Building Decarbonization

Sustainability starts with the right design, plan, and execution. A major focus is on carbon emissions and their impact on climate. Agencies and organizations worldwide are funding and doing research on ways to mitigate CO2 emissions from existing buildings and those under construction as well as those in the drawing stage. Major suppliers are joining such groups and investing in their research.

Schneider Electric, a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, for example, supports the World Economic Forum in launching the Net-Zero Carbon Cities Building Value Framework, an investment framework for decarbonizing buildings. The purpose of the Building Value Framework is to shift perceptions on the value of decarbonization investments from purely financial to also consider social, environmental, and system performance benefits.

Buildings generate approximately 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions and while numerous technologies exist to help decarbonize the sector, according to the World Green Building Council’s recent Beyond the Business Case report, the biggest obstacles still relate to finance and investment.

According to research from the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures to help stakeholders make more informed decisions on climate related investments, new sustainable buildings will represent a $24.7 trillion investment opportunity in emerging markets alone by 2030, so tackling barriers to investment is essential.

A community of more than 40 experts—from real estate, finance, technology, and city governments supported the creation of the framework, which can be used at any point in the construction lifecycle for retrofit of existing buildings, as well as for the construction of new buildings.

It is coupled with an operational checklist, which acts as a practical application of the framework and identifies the relevant technology investment options for all stages of the investment planning and decarbonization journey.

The framework is part of the Forum’s wider Net Zero Carbon Cities initiative, which aims to help national and city-level leaders meet their emission reduction targets by aligning and scaling their efforts to deliver solutions that will reduce or eliminate carbon emissions in buildings, energy, and mobility.

Schneider Electric is backing many initiatives aimed at climate change and its limitation. Since energy production is another major source of concern, the company is reaching out to similar-minded firms for partnerships. Recently, Schneider Electric and Storengy, a subsidiary of ENGIE, one of the world leaders in underground natural gas storage and key player in the development of renewable gases, began working together to achieve the zero-carbon transition and announce a partnership to offer underground hydrogen storage solutions.

This partnership is initiated through a first project named HyPSTER at the Etrez storage site. The solution will be powered by local renewable energy (photovoltaic, hydraulic) to produce renewable hydrogen. This project aims to install a demonstrator for underground hydrogen storage in a salt cavern. It will also be a means to validate the technical and economic reproducibility of the process at other sites in Europe.

To support this zero-carbon storage, Schneider Electric will provide its expertise in the fields of automation solutions, process instrumentation, gas analysis, and energy distribution to Storengy. Together, both companies will design a power systems and process automation solution dedicated to underground hydrogen storage. The solutions implemented require manufacturing skills, for both energy management and process steering. Schneider Electric will design packages, which will be reproducible to other facilities.

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