5 March 2014

BCSC says Green Deal needs to work for commercial property

According to the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC), the Green Deal is not fit for purpose for the commercial property sector.
The retail property trade body says 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 unlikely to be met.

The BCSC has made a submission to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee outlining its concerns and the issues with the current residential Green Deal for a commercial property context.

At present, the Energy Act 2011 states 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 in the commercial arena and ineffectual for businesses if simply brought across in its current guise, BCSC says that MEPS are at risk of failing before they have even started.

The trade body is highlighting two main issues with the Green Deal. Firstly, it says there is currently no Green Deal in place in the commercial property sector and the MEPS system laid out in Government legislation cannot operate without it. Secondly, it says that the Green Deal is based around a system of gradual pay-back in line with energy savings, to avoid a significant initial outlay to introduce green measures. This suits the residential sector where people keep hold of homes for decades. However, it is wholly unsuitable for commercial premises where tenancies are agreed on increasingly short lease terms, and vacancy is a very real prospect, making gradual payback a 'no go' for landlords.

BCSC sustainability manager, Helen Drury, said: '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.'

A consultation on the MEPS design will take place in the spring.

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