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ACE report reveals poor energy efficiency of London’s buildings

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37% of London's non-domestic buildings have EPC ratings of E or lower. Image: Daniel Chapman

Over a third of non-domestic buildings in London have the worst energy ratings under the EPC standards according to findings by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE).

According to the Energy Efficiency in London report, 37% of these buildings to have been given an Energy Performance Certificate since 2009 have been rated E or lower. In contrast, only around a third (34%) of the capital’s 265,000 non-domestic properties has a performance rating of C or higher.

The report also found that 18,000 of these buildings are rated F or G, meaning they may fall victim to upcoming legislation designed to improve the energy efficiency standards across the privately rented building stock.

Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) will make it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an EPC rating below E from 1 April 2018.

The report also found that London’s housing stock was in a similar state with a quarter (830,000) having the worst energy efficiency ratings of E, F or G.

Pedro Guertler, research director at ACE, said: “We were shocked to discover that a quarter of London’s homes and 37% of its workplaces have the very worst energy ratings and therefore waste a large proportion of their energy. 

“Millions of the capital’s homes and businesses still stand to gain from energy efficiency upgrades. If our shops cut energy costs by 20%, it would be the equivalent of a 5% increase in sales.”

The report states that commercial and industrial buildings make up around a quarter of London’s building space but consume almost half the energy. As a result, workplaces currently deliver around 42% of the city’s carbon emissions, with ACE adding that companies pay a total of £4 billion each year in gas and electrical bills.

Improvements in this area would therefore provide a considerable financial benefit to these firms, particularly as business energy prices are thought to have doubled since 2005, as well as substantial emissions reductions across the city.

The state of London’s building stock will soon become an issue for its new mayor, as the 2011 Climate Change and Energy Strategy requires Sadiq Khan to ensure retrofits are carried out on around two thirds of London’s current non-domestic buildings over the next decade.

The ACE report claims London is falling well behind on its milestones to 2025.

Khan also has his own targets to deliver after being successfully elected mayor of London on a manifesto that promised to make the capital zero carbon by 2050.

Aside from the current RE:FIT programme which has underpinned £93 million of investment in improving public sector buildings, there is little policy in place to address the energy efficiency of commercial properties.

Guertler added: “The Mayor has set ambitious climate change and energy targets. But we are falling well behind on our milestones to reach them. We are improving homes at half the speed we need to - and public sector buildings aside, nobody at City Hall knows what progress is being made to improve our workplaces. 

“Investing more in the energy performance of our substandard buildings will help London meet its targets, enhance its economic competitiveness and be a place that people want – and can afford – to live and work.”


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