Energy & waste

Energy efficient buildings: solutions to a conundrum

Energy”, “Climate Change”, “Carbon Emissions” – all terms that we hear on a daily basis. The Government’s commitment to an 80% carbon reduction by 2050 is a big target and, whilst clean energy production and the latest technology design create regular headlines, there is less publicity on what can be done to improve the efficiency of those buildings already constructed.

Are you ESOS aware?

All large, eligible organisations (excluding the public sector) must have carried out an energy efficiency audit by 5 December 2015. This audit will be conducted under the auspices of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), the UK’s response to the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. The audit will assess the energy efficiency of businesses’ operations including (but not confined to) buildings, transport and industrial processes and will also be used to identify further energy saving opportunities.

Energy Efficiency Standards will become mandatory

In the light of the government’s obligation to impose minimum energy efficiency standards on privately rented buildings, both domestic and non-domestic (as required by the Energy Act 2011), will be subject to the Energy Efficiency Regulations. The stated objectives of the regulations are to reduce energy usage and UK greenhouse gas emissions, and improve living conditions for poorer households. The regulations herald two significant changes, one affecting landlords, the other tenants.

The Green Deal for commercial property

The Energy Act has some important implications for commercial property and if building owners have not done so already, now is the time to sit up and take note. One requirement in particular, which will impact on at least 20% of existing commercial property stock, is causing quite a stir. This is the long-awaited new requirement which makes it unlawful to lease commercial property without a minimum EPC rating.

The Green Deal: CML position

The Green Deal is the coalition government's flagship initiative for improving the energy efficiency of buildings in Great Britain, by removing the upfront cost of energy efficiency measures. On 1 October 2012 the Green Deal went ‘live’ although loans for energy efficiency improvements won’t actually be available until January 2013. The Council of Mortgage Lenders was consulted by government: it was concerned that any proposals should neither adversely affect lending activity nor impose an unnecessary burden on home owners.

Green energy: obligations and opportunities

As a nation we are bound by certain global and European protocols and legislation which have either worked their way through to the domestic statute book or are in the process of doing so. The driving factors behind the general push towards green energy range from increasing social responsibility and accountability to improving energy security. There can also be a very good business case for embracing green technology.

The Green Deal for domestic properties

The Green Deal for domestic properties is due to be launched in October 2012 and we understand that it will be heavily marketed to homeowners (for whom take up is voluntary) and tenants. The Green Deal is the financial scheme funded through energy savings and removes the need for upfront payments. It is attached to the building not the owner and if the building is empty for any period, the charge is paid for by the landlord who will pick up the utility bills whilst the property is empty, in the usual way.

Launch of the Green Deal

The Government has confirmed that the Green Deal will launch this autumn after they named the 22 companies (including British Gas, Carillion, Kingfisher and Wilmott Dixon Energy Services) on the list of providers that would deliver the scheme. The Green Deal is intended to deliver the energy efficiency products and services that will enable property owners to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

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