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British Property Federation welcomes new report

Building Efficiency, a report by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum and Carbon Connect, has been welcomed by the British Property Federation.
The publication makes a number of recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of commercial properties. The British Property Federation offered up its own recommendations in light of the ensuing debate, including a four-point plan for the Government to improve energy efficiency in the commercial sector.

Commercial buildings account for 10% of the UK's carbon emissions and offer a huge amount of potential for carbon savings and increased energy efficiency. As Government's environmental initiatives on energy efficiency and carbon reduction take the spotlight in the Autumn Statement, Building Efficiency provides a number of helpful contributions to an increasingly significant debate.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Westminster, chief executive of the British Property Federation, Liz Peace, said: 'There is a lot to be gained from focusing on energy efficiency in a non-domestic environment. New buildings are becoming more and more energy efficient, but as only around 2% of commercial buildings are replaced each year we believe there should be greater emphasis on energy saving initiatives targeted at existing properties.'

She continued: 'An effective energy efficiency strategy in the commercial sector will benefit from not being too granular in its demands on business. A balance between creating central Government targets and giving businesses the freedom to meet them will be key to this - and a four-point plan with this ethos could be developed through a well-structured overarching Governmental framework with the following objectives:

· Getting Energy Performance Certificates right

· Introducing Minimum Energy Performance Standards in a sensible way

· Gathering good, comprehensive data with common metrics for measuring energy efficiency

· Offering financial support to help businesses implement energy efficiency measures

Ms Peace continued: 'Financial support could come from a reworked and more effective Green Deal, which currently offers very little to the non-domestic sector. Government could also examine using business rates, Stamp Duty Land Tax, or empty rates relief, as suggested in the report, to provide businesses with the necessary financial aid.

'It also merits noting that there would be real benefits from applying Display Energy Certificates across the board, as they have the potential to improve buildings' energy efficiency by focusing attention on actual rather than theoretical energy use. Furthermore, Enhanced Capital Allowances are a fantastic idea which would be even more helpful if expanded to apply to a wider selection of energy improvements,' she added.

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