Green campaign group UK Green Building Council has welcomed the government’s proposals to emulate the Australian NABERS scheme by introducing ratings for commercial and industrial buildings in the UK, but warns it is missing one “key element”.
The government introduced a raft of green measures including the rating scheme, which is currently open for consultation. This consultation sets out the government’s proposals to introduce a national performance-based policy framework for rating the energy and carbon performance of commercial and industrial buildings above 1,000m² in England and Wales, with annual ratings and mandatory disclosure as the first step.
These proposals aim to build on international best practice and have been developed “in close collaboration with industry”.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at the UKGBC, said: “Energy use in our non-domestic buildings remains stubbornly high. We, therefore, welcome the government’s proposal to emulate the Australian NABERS scheme and introduce performance-based ratings for commercial and industrial buildings. NABERS has meant that commercial buildings in Melbourne are now between two and four times as efficient as their London equivalents.
“However, one key element of the Australian scheme is missing from [the] proposals – a commitment that central and local government will only occupy buildings with a high rating. Making that commitment would send a clear message to the market that lower-rated buildings must improve or risk being unlettable.
“We also welcome [the] confirmation that by 2030 no non-domestic building can be let that doesn’t meet a high energy-efficiency rating (EPC B). But proposals for improving enforcement fall short of what’s needed to signal to unwilling landlords that non-compliance is no longer an option. We need a national landlord register and seed-funding for cash-strapped local authorities to help them ratchet up enforcement activity.”