Lights Out for Energy Hungry Buildings

16/04/2015

I was pleased to see the Government’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards had passed through Parliament in March 2015. This legislation will prohibit landlords from renting out England and Wales’ most energy inefficient buildings from 2018 and force them to improve, cutting energy bills and carbon emissions.

In December 2014, our Chief Executive, Chris Grigg, was one of a number of business leaders to call on the Government to end the uncertainty on these regulations, which were proposed in the 2011 Energy Act. By passing the legislation in the last Parliament, the Government has given the industry adequate time to prepare effectively, so that the benefits can be delivered for the UK as a whole.

I believe that this legislation will drive significant investment and improvements in energy efficiency in buildings. Landlords with properties rated F and G will be unable to let them from 1 April 2018, until they improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings to E or better. This will motivate landlords to retrofit more efficient plant, from boilers and chillers to lifts and lightbulbs. It will also raise energy efficiency up the agenda for occupier fit-outs.

The benefits could be significant. Homes and commercial buildings are responsible for around a third of the UK’s carbon emissions, with energy bills costing individuals and organisations billions every year. Improved efficiency has the potential particularly to benefit the UK’s competitiveness and stimulate economic growth.

The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards support the work we have been doing here at British Land for more than six years to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings and reduce running costs for occupiers. We have already carried out a full EPC review across our portfolio and continue to carry out additional assessments as we buy and build new properties.

Most of our office, retail and residential buildings significantly outperform the required standards, with over half rated highly (A to C). For the less than 4% of our portfolio rated F and G, we have plans in place to upgrade their ratings. This mainly affects some retail assets, where fit-outs by retailers have a much greater influence on EPC ratings than in multi-let office buildings. We have introduced lease clauses that require retailers to protect EPC ratings through their fit-outs. In the coming years, we will ensure our buildings meet the standard.

So, along with others at British Land, I welcome these new standards, which will drive investment in buildings to improve efficiency ratings. Let’s hope that this good practice in build and fit-out also transfers to efficient management, which our experience shows can drive huge savings.

 

This blog was initially published on British Land's website here.