Green Deal falls short for commercial property

The Green Deal is not fit for purpose for commercial-property, according to the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC), the retail-property body, in its latest assessment of how the sector is faring in progressing towards sustainability. The assessment suggests that without the Green Deal operating for commercial property, including shopping centres and retail parks, the Government’s 2018 deadline for Minimum Energy Property Standards (MEPS) is likely not to be met.

In a submission to the Energy & Climate Changed Select Committee, BCSC has outlined these concerns and the issues with the current residential Green Deal for a commercial-property context.

The Energy Act 2011 states that MEPS require a Green Deal assessment to be carried out to establish what cost-effective measures can be introduced to meet minimum standards. With the Green Deal not yet operating for commercial buildings and ineffectual for businesses if simply brought across in its current guise, MEPS are seen as being at risk of failing before they have even begun.

One major concern is that there is no Green Deal in place for the commercial property sector and that the MEPS system laid out in Government legislation cannot operate without it.

Another concern is that a system of gradual payback in line with energy savings is wholly unsuitable for commercial premises where tenancies are increasingly on short-lease terms and vacancy is a very real prospect, making gradual payback a ‘no go’ for landlords.

Helen Drury, sustainability manager with BCSC, comments, ‘The current policy landscape for sustainability is led very heavily by the residential market and fails to recognise the specifics of operations within the commercial property sector.

‘If Government is to engage business in the sustainability drive and bring commercial premises in line with residential in terms of minimum energy standards, it must first create an assessment and improvement system that can work for this market.’

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