Greengage has developed a Carbon Literacy training course for Built Environment Professionals in collaboration with the Carbon Literacy Project, a charity whose aim is to advance the education of the public in the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment. The Carbon Literacy Project provides climate change and carbon resources and courses that aim to catalyse action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is based on the principle that in order to meet the carbon reductions identified by climate science, a cultural shift is required. Carbon Literacy can contribute to this cultural shift as it educates, underlines the relevance, and provides tangible evidence of the effective and necessary means of public engagement.
This course was designed to provide built environment professionals with the tools to address the specific challenges faced by the sector due to climate change. It is divided into three two-hour sessions that cover the following topics:
- Climate Change Science and Human Level Impacts
- Energy & Carbon
- Carbon & Net Zero
Background of the Course
Starting with the basics, what is carbon literacy and why is it so important?
The Carbon Literacy Project defines carbon literacy as “an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions on an individual, community and organisational basis”.
The built environment sector (buildings and infrastructure) represents over 25% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions, which increases to 42% if we include surface transport in this scope. Urgent action is required to reduce the carbon emissions produced by this sector. Carbon literacy is becoming an essential skill to respond to the climate crisis as it provides learners with an understanding of the carbon cost of design decisions and operational systems, and the confidence to enact change. To truly achieve the global and national sustainability targets, it will be necessary to influence every aspect of the asset life cycle including the supply chain involved in providing the products and services. This calls for a systems-thinking approach, making carbon literacy a critical skill for all levels of the industry. This will be the only way to influence the cultural shift, as well as address the current skills gap within the sector.
The Carbon Literacy Course has been developed by our inhouse team of experts. The team of consultants with expertise in energy; carbon; sustainability and social value, has created a holistic, insightful and comprehensive course suitable for anyone who wants to become more carbon literate. The content of the course is based on a deep understanding of how to deliver resilient places for tomorrow and beyond and attendees of the course will increase their knowledge on how to reduce carbon emissions associated with the built environment sector.
Participants of the course will have to attend three two-hour taught sessions, complete a homework task and explore the shared resources. Each session will include breaks, group activities, and group check-ins. This structure is to ensure that the participants keep engaged, absorb the content of the session, and have the time & space to ask questions.
Session 1: Climate Change Science and Human Level Impacts
Session 1 will cover climate change science and human level impacts to ensure that all participants understand how the built environment sector is influencing this phenomenon. More specifically, it will cover the essential climate change knowledge such as carbon cycling, the greenhouse effect and different emissions scenarios, and the predicted impacts associated with each design stage, of climate change from at a local to an international level. This will be followed by a review of current UK climate change policy and an introduction to carbon budgets and Net Zero. The first session will close with a briefing for a short homework task to get learners thinking about retrofit as a method of reducing embodied carbon and building energy, ahead of the next session.
Session 2: Energy & Carbon
Session 2 will cover all things Energy & Carbon related. This session will start with basic understanding of energy terms and definitions and the relationship between energy & carbon. Then participants will look at energy and related emissions in the buildings and the construction sector. In the second half of the session, learners will dig into the specifics of whole life-cycle carbon, operational & embodied carbon, and the importance of circular economy in the built environment sector. Including calculation methodologies, recommendations to reduce emissions in these areas and further considerations beyond reducing emissions, such as health & wellbeing.
Session 3: Net Zero & Carbon Baseline
The final session will delve into the increasingly popular notion of Net Zero and the inseparable concept of carbon baselining. Participants will first gain an insight into Net Zero and the accompanying carbon reporting legislation and standards that target the built environment sector, followed by an in-depth review of the three different scopes of carbon emissions. The second half of the session will look at the principles of carbon baselining and mitigation.
At the end of the session, participants will create two carbon reducing pledges, one individual and group. The individual pledge will be a significant action taken personally to reduce their own carbon footprint, and the group pledge will be a significant action involving other people to reduce the collective carbon footprint of their team, whole company, or wider community. The pledges are a requirement to receive ‘Carbon Literacy’ certification.
Benefits of Carbon Literacy Training
Becoming a Carbon Literate Organisation (CLO) is a great and visible way to show stakeholders that as an organisation, you have made a commitment maintain a low carbon culture through having a significant number of employees who are Carbon Literate. It illustrates an organisation’s corporate social responsibility in a clear manner, and can support in reducing energy and resource consumption, improve staff well-being, enhance competitiveness by adding value through a carbon focused lens, and therefore reduce commercial risk.
For further information about our Carbon Literacy Course for Built Environment Professionals, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.