The buzz around sustainability has never been louder. With the global spotlight turning towards energy-efficient solutions and practices, London is not far behind in adapting its commercial real estate to meet these expectations. Upcoming changes in energy efficiency legislation and the available financial opportunities surrounding them will significantly transform the commercial property landscape.
The London Plan, a strategic plan by the Mayor of London to guide the future development of London’s commercial spaces, has already proposed an aggressive reduction in carbon emissions. In the future, stricter measures are expected, with commercial properties playing a significant role in achieving this goal.
The likely changes in legislation would require all commercial buildings in London to possess a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of ‘B’ by 2030, a considerable leap from the current ‘E’ rating requirement. This will involve more comprehensive assessments and upgrades to meet the standard, driving many property owners and developers to retrofit or redesign their spaces.
In addition, the UK government is considering mandating the installation of smart meters in all commercial buildings to improve energy monitoring. Such intelligent systems will enable property owners to pinpoint areas of energy wastage and implement targeted strategies to improve efficiency.
The installation of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, could also become a requirement in the future. This will provide commercial properties with an opportunity to generate their own energy and significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
While these changes can seem daunting, they offer a valuable chance for property owners to future-proof their assets, enhancing the attractiveness and potential rental yields of their properties. However, the question remains: how will these upgrades be financed?
Several financial support mechanisms are expected to be available to facilitate this transition. The UK government, acknowledging the scale of the task, is likely to extend and expand existing schemes such as the Super Deduction, allowing companies to claim 130% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments, such as energy-efficient equipment.
The London Energy Efficiency Fund (LEEF) is another potent resource for property owners. The fund is designed to provide financing for energy efficiency projects within Greater London, with an emphasis on retrofitting commercial buildings. The government is likely to increase funding for this scheme to meet the growing demand for energy-efficient commercial property.
The Green Finance Institute, in collaboration with leading banks and financial institutions, is also developing ‘green mortgages’ and ‘green loans.’ These offer preferential rates for energy-efficient buildings, potentially making it cheaper to finance these changes than to maintain a building’s current state.
Moreover, energy service companies (ESCOs) offer a unique financing model, wherein they invest in and manage a building’s energy-saving measures. In return, they receive a portion of the energy savings made over a defined period. This approach eliminates the upfront cost to the building owner and ensures that the upgrades are professionally managed.
In conclusion, the upcoming changes in energy efficiency legislation present both a challenge and an opportunity for London’s commercial property owners. While meeting the new standards will require a significant commitment, various financing options are available to mitigate these costs. By embracing these changes, property owners can ensure they are at the forefront of London’s transition to a more sustainable future.