The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced a consultation on the emissions of commercial buildings to be launched as soon as possible as it considers the sector to be a huge untapped area for improvements.

Speaking at a BEIS Committee hearing, the Energy and Climate Change Minister announced that the Government would consult on what actions would drive improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions in the commercial built environment sector. Around 60% of the sector is rented, creating barriers to improve energy efficiency due to complex contracts between landlords and commercial tenants which often clash with the ownership, maintenance and long lifetimes of technological improvements. There are more barriers to energy efficiency improvements in the non-domestic sector than domestic as energy is often included or service charge cost distancing the end user from the energy supplier and the bill. It is also often the case that the landlord is not directly involved in the management of the building meaning that the parties that can make the most significant difference are not in the driving seat nor in communication with each other.

Whilst Improvements are happening, successive governments have done nothing to drive change in this area with legislation focussed on measuring what is being used rather than driving reductions and energy efficiency measures.

The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which includes measures to support businesses to improve energy productivity by at least 20% by 2030, pledges to establish of an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large energy-intensive companies to reduce energy use. With around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from energy consumed in buildings, the Government estimates that carbon savings of 43MtCO₂ should come from buildings, equivalent to a 20% reduction. BEIS estimates that the 20% target will reduce energy costs for businesses by £6bn, of which £2.7bn will be saved by SMEs, with a new energy efficiency targeting scheme set to be introduced to assist smaller businesses.

Disappointingly, the Government has already stated that it is unlikely that there will be significant regulatory control on how businesses achieve such savings unless the consultation results suggest that this is necessary. The aim instead it to encourage innovation and market responses to using the model taken to drive the use of renewable energy.Carbon2018 will be participating in this consultation and will provide further details shortly on how you can be involved.

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