If you’ve been following the discussions posted on these pages in recent weeks you’ll know that raising the energy performance of buildings was the focus of our latest 2degrees Live. These events are all about bringing you face-to-face with peers to tackle your shared sustainability challenges. True to form, last Friday saw 170 of you gathered together, rolling up your sleeves and thrashing out some answers. In the coming months we’ll be bringing you a tailor-made program of content to address some of the key issues raised. In the meantime here are five talking points that emerged during the action packed day.
There’s overwhelming support for Display Energy Certificates – a show of hands in the audience showed almost all of you endorsed the role out of mandatory DECs for commercial properties. DECs - which show the actual energy use of a building – are seen as a key tool for driving change and improving performance. Already mandatory for public buildings above a certain size, many of you question the government’s U-turn on its pledge to extend this requirement to the commercial sector. Business is taking a lead though. The Better Buildings Partnership – a collaboration of London's leading commercial property owner – is developing its own Landlord’s Energy Rating (LER) tool while Munish Datta, head of property for Plan A at M&S hinted that the retailer might be about to make public the energy performance of its stores.
2013 could be a big year for energy performance contracts - there was plenty of discussion around new business models that could change the way energy is purchased and consumed in buildings. A lot of this talk – especially amongst those in the public sector – centred around the use of energy performance contracts as a low risk way to raise energy efficiency and lower costs. The energy service contract model is gradually evolving and as a result many of you think the commercial sector too could be about to embrace it on a much larger scale. Philips Lighting provided another interesting take on this approach with its ‘pay per lux’ lighting offering.
Maintaining momentum doesn’t get any easier - we heard from a number of large organizations who had made significant inroads into cutting their operational energy use – not least Karen Dell from the Department of Energy and Climate Change whose own property portfolio has seen emissions halved since 2008/09. However, having picked a lot of the low – and quite a bit of the higher up fruit – how do you keep things on a downward trajectory? Some of your suggestions to this age old problem? Implementing the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems standard or a similar commitment - which can also help to get senior management buy in – and using good monitoring and data to identify what measures are working well and potential new opportunities.
Behaviour change is a powerful tool - it’s estimated that around half of a building’s energy consumption is directly influenced by how its occupants use it. Their actions have significant impact on the amount of energy consumed by lighting, heating and cooling as well as by appliances like computers, printers and photocopiers. So why have businesses not been exploiting this opportunity to curb energy use? One answer is that persuading individuals to change their behaviors is not always straightforward. But as Paul Edwards of Hammerson demonstrated with this video, people are often more willing to conform than they’d like to admit.
- Retrofitting the commercial sector is a tough nut to crack - Jake Ronay of the Greater London Authority (GLA) outlined some of the results of its RE:FIT, public sector retrofit program on 111 buildings in London. This delivered an average energy savings of 20% however achieving the same in the commercial sector is a much bigger challenge. 80% of London's buildings will still be standing in 2025 which is why the GLA will be looking to engage the commercial sector on how it can effectively deliver retrofits on the scale that’s needed to reduce the capital’s CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025.
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