Commercial Sector lacks understanding of Energy Efficiency says Report

Posted on 9 December, 2013 by Cliff Goodwin

British businesses and commercial property owners must improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or risk missing significant economic and environmental opportunities.

The warning comes in a report, published jointly by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum and Carbon Connect, which claims that benefits such as reduced energy bills, increased competitiveness and improved worker productivity are being missed by thousands of UK companies.

The report follows a six-month cross-party inquiry, chaired by Oliver Colvile MP and Lord Whitty and warns of a widespread lack of understanding of the advantages of increased energy efficiency at senior management level. It also wants the Government to do more to help companies access low-cost loans to finance energy saving measures.

Three of the report’s recommendations are specifically aimed at commercial property owners:

  • It wants the Government to compile a comprehensive database of UK commercial buildings based on their energy efficiency, in order to provide a performance benchmark and help foster a culture of awareness and competition.
  •   It wants a clamp down on commercial landlords failing to meet minimum energy-efficiency standards by increasing financial penalties for those failing to produce Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates for their buildings.
  •   And it says there should be help for landlords to make improvements by extending the length of time a landlord can receive empty property rate relief from local authorities to 12 months – providing energy-efficiency improvements are being made.

Prior to the report’s publication, Oliver Colvile said: “The need to increase the resilience of our businesses against the threat of climate change and energy price volatility could not be greater. The obvious cost savings, coupled with improved productivity that can be realised from energy efficiency, makes it quite clear that now is the time to invest on a large scale.”

To do that he added; “Requires Government intervention to raise awareness, guarantee low-cost loans, stimulate the market and incentivise the landlords. This report lays out clearly how that can be achieved quickly and cost effectively.”

His inquiry co-chair Lord Whitty added: “This report shows a worrying lack of understanding across the UK commercial sector of both the benefits of improved energy efficiency and the ways in which companies can finance and engage in improvements.

“The Government needs to be clearer about all of the non-domestic energy-efficiency programmes available to the commercial sector, and an energy-efficiency ‘hub’ website must be created to guide senior executives through investment in energy efficiency.”

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