Committed to sustainability and keen to reduce its operational carbon footprint, French private equity firm Ardian appointed Arup to develop a long-term strategy towards Zero Carbon for its managed portfolio.
A growing body of sustainability regulations are redrawing the financial markets in the European Union, driving an increasing number of private equity investors to adopt ESG criteria to appraise their assets and operations. Reducing carbon footprint, avoiding stranded asset risk and realising operational efficiencies are key drivers behind the unparalleled growth in demand for decarbonisation and sustainability consulting services.
Arup’s sustainability experts worked with Ardian to define the journey towards Net Zero for over 23 office buildings located in Italy, Germany, Spain and France, looking at energy and carbon saving opportunities including embodied carbon, as well as considering how to prime for disinvestment or flex for alternative uses.
The objective of this work was to identify the assets at risk of stranding and prioritise sustainable and carbon reducing investments which will deliver the best decarbonisation potential. Arup also provided a portfolio-level analysis to determine the overall decarbonisation strategy.
The team designed detailed strategies for each building, taking into account the different regulations, market context and European policy. Between 5 and 20 targeted actions have been proposed to improve each of these buildings regarding whole life cycle decarbonisation and sustainability.
Energy monitoring, the installation of photovoltaic panels and district network, the performance improvement of walls and windows, as well as the controls for the optimisation of energy consumption to achieve greater energy savings annually are amongst the fields of action to achieve this.
48%shorter term emissions decrease
5-20actions per building
Embodied + Operational carbon study
Arup has delivered a whole life cycle carbon impact analysis to estimate the decarbonisation impact of the proposed actions per building. This analysis determined the embodied and operational carbon emissions of each action in an improved building scenario to compare to the base building scenario (actual building scenario with no improvements) and determine the return on investment both in cost and carbon metrics.
Arup’s sustainability experts estimated the assets’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions through energy performance labels and the use of dynamic energy modelling. These estimations considered building elements like the envelope, and HVAC and lighting systems, and were benchmarked against the international energy consumption standard ASHRAE 90.1. Arup’s experts determined that the carbon emissions of the asset portfolio will decrease between 32% and 48% in the short term (from 2022 to 2024), primarily with a set of minor and major building improvements like the upgrade of the building envelope or controls system, and between 10% and 14% in the long term (from 2035 to 2040), with future major improvements.
To achieve the goals of the asset decarbonisation strategy, recommendations include the periodic monitoring and the purchasing of green electricity through a PPA.
Our experience designing both new and existing buildings gives us a rounded perspective of the policy drivers and technical challenges behind the life cycle carbon assessments. We are pushing a shift in the market towards the regenerative transformation of buildings, supported by digital strategies. ” Susana Saiz Director
Carbon asset risk evaluation
Arup’s sustainability experts examined each asset under five carbon risk factors, including carbon intensity, on site renewable share, net zero readiness, stranding event, and CO2 reduction. Each carbon risk factor is defined as low, medium or high risk.
The carbon risk of the asset was analysed in the context of the entire portfolio, which was weighted to a specific gross internal area and CO2 emissions area. The proposed asset decarbonisation strategy will be defined by the portfolio’s weighted climate change risk.
Helping Ardian on the journey towards Net Zero, Arup’s whole life cycle assessment will contribute to creating a robust strategy to improving the sustainability performance of their asset portfolio.