Office investors, owners, and occupiers are missing ‘easy wins’ – including the use of building management systems – to reduce their building’s energy consumption, according to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).
This is one of the key findings in UKGBC’s new guidance on retrofitting large office buildings. The guidance sets out the most cost- and carbon-effective retrofit measures in the immediate and longer term, reframing retrofit as an iterative process rather than a standalone project.
UKGBC has found that significant opportunities are being missed by office owners, and occupiers, who do not have clear strategies to retrofit offices in place. Firstly, they are missing the “easy wins” –low cost, low disruption measures that reduce energy consumption. This includes the use of building management systems to optimise building energy use. Secondly, they are missing key “trigger points” in lease and maintenance cycles that facilitate easier, more efficient retrofit.
UKGBC’s report ‘Building the case for net zero: retrofitting office buildings’ highlights the following key information:
- For the UK to meet the carbon trajectory set out in UKGBC’s Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, an overall 59% reduction in energy consumption in the office sector is required by 2050. Commercial buildings are not currently being retrofitted at the pace or scale necessary, risking the UK not meeting critical net zero milestones.
- 77% of UK office stock currently has an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below B and is anticipated to be unlettable by 2030. Without action, many owners will be left vulnerable to stranded assets, as market demand for sustainable space grows and minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) tighten.
- Significant reductions in operational energy use are also possible through both optimisation and light retrofit (26% and 15% respectively), and these generally include the most cost- and carbon-effective retrofit measures. Taking intermediate steps can mean deep retrofits can later be carried out more swiftly, with less extensive works.
- Deep retrofit is generally required to achieve deep cuts in operational energy use (60-65%), transition building systems away from fossil fuels, and meet best practice 2030-2035 energy performance targets for offices.
- UKGBC’s new guidance has been informed by live data and insights shared by a Task Group of industry experts, including representatives of Arup, ISG, British Land, Canary Wharf Group, Deloitte and Lloyds Banking Group.
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