Commercial sustainable

Fisher German has launched a second pioneering service to help property owners reduce their carbon footprint head of the UK’s 2050 net zero target.

The new Delivering Net Zero service is designed to help commercial property owners improve the energy performance and sustainability of their building stock after new research showed only a third of companies have carbon reduction strategies for property.

It follows the launch of The Green Offset website earlier this year, which matches landowners with excess land to developers and organisations who are looking for land to site an offset or environmental project.

New research from global consultancy Mace found that just 36 per cent of UK businesses surveyed have a carbon reduction strategy in place to address the emissions from their property and estate portfolio*. Although Mace’s second annual carbon survey also highlights that business leaders are putting the changing climate at the heart of their strategy, new government legislation means that commercial property owners have until just April 2023 to ensure that their buildings have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) level E. This will then tighten further to an EPC level B by 2030 as part of the Government’s target to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Through Delivering Net Zero, our in-house sustainability experts will review the energy efficiency of each property within a portfolio and provide strategic advice on high, medium and low priority changes in line with regulatory demands to ensure owners can spread the cost of the upgrade investments over a number of years. We will also advise on how best to optimise return on investment, as well as how to make buildings more attractive to tenants, such as improvements that will result in reduced energy costs or carbon footprint.

Once the recommendations have been discussed and agreed, design solutions can be explored and all of the proposed works can be costed in readiness for a commercial evaluation determining the optimum timescales for the works.

Partner and Head of Sustainable Energy, Darren Edwards, advises that property owners be proactive in their approach to tightening regulations.

He said: “Although some property owners are already setting ambitious carbon reduction targets so that they will be significantly ahead of any legal requirements, Mace’s research supports our own findings, insofar that many companies do not have a clear strategy in place for their property portfolios. It isn’t necessarily always clear how commercial property owners can best improve their buildings to achieve compliance.

“While EPCs show improvements that can be undertaken, these are theoretical, often basic and take little account of the practicalities associated with commercial lets, including fundamental asset management considerations such as presiding lease terms between a landlord and tenant. To achieve ‘Net Zero’, property owners firstly need to understand the current carbon footprint of their built assets and once this has been established, have a clear pathway of measures which can be implemented over a pre-agreed period of time to enable those assets to achieve a net zero status - or as close as is possible - by 2050.

“As well as measures to improve the building’s EPC rating, our service considers other factors including the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) commitments of the property owners and their tenants, the long-term management plan for the asset and the all-important contractual terms as set out in the lease, which can either help or hinder progress.

“Our multidisciplinary approach means that we can also combine our energy expertise with commercial property management, planning and building surveying services to provide a seamless process when implementing any strategies. Utilising existing services like The Green Offset, we can also help our clients find excess land across the UK to initiate environmental and social projects, or offset their excess carbon in the short term while they implement longer term changes to their operations.

“We are investing heavily in this area of the business to service the growing demand as we move towards 2023 and beyond, and have recently welcomed sustainability advisor Phillip Chapman to our team to support our work on the Delivering Net Zero service.”

If you would like to find out more about Delivering Net Zero or The Green Offset, or talk to one of our expert advisors about carbon management on your property, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

* Mace Property and Infrastructure Carbon Survey 2021