Labour plans to improve energy efficiency of commercial buildings

10th November 2014

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  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Management/saving


Carol Cooper

Reporting requirements for energy efficiency on commercial buildings will be streamlined under a Labour government, the party announced today.

Labour has published a consultation on how it proposes to overhaul the country’s approach to energy efficiency, covering both residential and commercial buildings.

In the green paper, the party points out that businesses are subject to several, overlapping information requirements on their energy use, which it says is “administratively complex and provides uneven incentives”.

Current requirements include greenhouse-gas emissions reporting, the carbon reduction commitment and the energy savings obligation schemes, all of which require businesses to report different elements of their energy use and have different criteria for inclusion. These also overlap with building regulations and carbon pricing standards.

This overlap reflects a failure by government to join up energy efficiency policy and to work closely with business in the design and deployment of these measures, Labour said.

The party wants industry views on moving to a “single, easily enforceable and comparable source of information” for the majority of businesses.

It says it will also introduce easily-accessible information on energy efficiency requirements to help businesses understand what they need to do.

Richard Twinn, policy and public affairs officer for the UK Green Building Council, said the proposals were very welcome, but warned: “All the current schemes have come from different places and have different rationale, so it won’t necessarily be that easy to bring them together.”

Other measures proposed in the consultation include:

- establishing a route map for all new non-domestic buildings to be zero-carbon. The current government has a target for this standard to come into effect in 2019, but has not provided clarity on how this will be achieved, Labour says.

- exploring ways to improve take-up of a pay-as-you-save loans model, including using the government’s balance sheet to guarantee loans, in particular for financing projects for non-domestic buildings. The green deal was launched for non-domestic customers in January 2013, but not a single non-domestic plan has been delivered since then, and only 63 assessments have been made, according to Labour.

- exploring ways to step up energy efficiency upgrades in the public sector, such as a greater role for local authorities and hospital groups to co-fund projects and allow them to reinvest returns in other projects.

The consultation is available here and closes on 22 December.

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