Across the EU Urban mobility accounts for 40% of all CO2 emissions from road transport and up to 70% of other pollutants from transport. The EU Climate and Energy Package targets call for a 20% cut in emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020, compared with 1990 levels; a 20% increase in the share of renewables in the energy mix; and a 20% cut in energy consumption.
The European Transport Plan aims to increase mobility and further integrate the EU’s transport networks – while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the bloc’s dependence on imported oil. It includes a target of no more conventionally fuelled cars on cities by 2050. The European Action Plan in Urban Mobility proposes twenty measures - ranging from improved information to better planning and financing mechanisms - to encourage and help local, regional and national authorities in achieving their goals for sustainable urban mobility.
Business parks have some specific challenges when it comes to sustainable mobility. They are charaterised by workers arriving and leaving at the same times. They are often out of town and/or badly serviced by public transport and in some places workers have to leave at lunchtime as there are no facilities on site.X
What can business park managers do to promote sustainable mobility?
Much is being done to develop new sustainable buildings and business parks, the problem of existing building stock and business parks is often ignored. Many of the parks managed by GreenFit partners are home to buildings which, built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, are neither ‘green’ nor fit for purpose for 21st century businesses. Demolition and new build is clearly one option. But is that actually sustainable from an economic or environmental viewpoint? Or should those responsible for the management and maintenance of business parks explore other options for how best to refurbish those buildings to optimise their green credentials and at the same time improve their lettability.
There are multiple drivers for change and perhaps the most powerful of all is legislation. The European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the ensuing national legislation set in stone ambitious targets for CO2 emissions from buildings. As well as these legislative requirements there is a recognition that fossil fuels are running out and other energy production and storage options needs to be developed.X
What can business park managers do to improve the sustainability of buildings on their parks?
The Directive on Energy Performance in Buildings (EPBD) is the principal European level legislative instrument affecting energy use and efficiency in the building sector in the EU. As buildings consume more than 40 % of Europe’s energy use, there is significant potential for cost-effective energy savings and CO2 emissions reductions in both new and existing buildings. If the untapped potential for cost-effective energy savings is realised, it is estimated that in 2020 the EU will consume 11 % less final energy. The way that this directive is being implemented in the UK and France - and its potential impact on business parks as a whole - is covered in detail in the GreenFit Mapping Study, available in the DOWNLOADS section.
At the same time, the price of energy continues to rise and projections are quite clear that this upward trend will only continue. When considering energy issues in business parks, the 'energy hierarchy' is a useful tool:
What can business park managers to do promote energy efficiency, use of renewables and even energy production amongst businesses and employees?
Those responsible for the management and maintenance of business parks use a range of methods to help them reflect upon and tackle sustainability challenges. Certification and accreditation programmes - formal and informal, local, national and international - are often seen as providing a framework within which to address such issues. There is a plethora of national and international certification and environmental management schemes (such as ISO14001, BREEAM etc) as well as local programmes which provide stepping stones towards better environmental management systems.
There are many benefits to using accreditation and certification schemes. For example:
However, they are not an end in themselves. Rather they provide a structured and systematic framework within which stakeholders can review and improve their management and practices.X
How can business park managers use certification schemes to improve the sustainability of their business parks?
A wide range of technologies exist which aim to help businesses and communities move towards a lower carbon economy. Many of these rely on people to use them correctly in order to work effectively. There are also lots of small changes that individuals and businesses can make to the way that they operate - their behaviour, culture and habits - which can make a big difference to the sustainability agenda.
We often talk about behaviour change but what do we actually mean? Although making it happen is complicated, the impact is simple e.g.:
Changing the behaviour of individuals using business parks, businesses located there and organisations responsible for their management are clearly prerequisites of any move towards the green business park of the future.X
What can business park managers to do promote behaviour change amongst businesses and employees?
GreenFit, part funded by the INTERREG IVA Channel Programme, aimed to develop a holistic approach to the greening of outdated business parks. The partners (see map in DOWNOADS) from the South East of England and Northern France, explored the following 5 key themes between 2012 and 2015:
This toolbox brings together the project findings, stakeholder interviews and factsheets for the good practices and presents key messages for each of the themes.