Land Securities acts on energy

10th November 2011


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IEMA

Commercial property company Land Securities is to voluntarily post display energy certificates (DECs) in its managed London buildings after the government decided not to include a provision in the Energy Act 2011 to make DECs compulsory.

The company, the largest commercial property owner in the UK, says that it will now produce DECs for 49 properties in the capital. The first certificates will appear in the summer of 2012.

DECs detail a building’s annual energy consumption and, under the energy performance of buildings Directive (2002/91/EC), they are currently required for public buildings of more than 1,000m2.

In its Carbon Plan, published in March, the government said it would extend DECs to commercial buildings, but the measure was omitted from the Energy Act largely due to the additional costs it would impose on businesses.

However, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers believes the benefits will outweigh the costs, as DECs are key to identifying opportunities for improved energy efficiency.

Commenting on the decision to voluntarily post DECs, Robert Noel, managing director at Land Securities, said: “It is a shame the government did not take the opportunity to introduce DECs across the property sector. We believe it is through measurement and benchmarking that we can help drive improvement. We hope that others in the property sector will follow our lead.”

Meanwhile, businesses have been warned that new potential measures on energy performance certificates (EPCs) allowed by the Energy Act will leave some commercial properties obsolete, as owners will not be able to let them unless energy-efficiency improvements are made.

The Act provides the secretary of state (and Scottish ministers) with the power to introduce regulations to address the energy efficiency of non-domestic properties. It means that from April 2018 it may be illegal for landlords to rent a business property that has an energy-efficiency rating of F or G. Approximately 18% of commercial properties currently fall into these categories.

According to Mat Lown, partner at legal firm Tuffin Ferraby Taylor, changes earlier this year to the software used to calculate the EPC rating will exacerbate the problem. He told delegates at the recent Carbon Show that the new parameters had resulted in ratings for a number of buildings dropping by one or two bands, pushing them into the F and G bands.

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