About 20 million square feet of London’s office space, almost 10 per cent, has an EPC rating of F or G – making it potentially unusable when new MEES regulations come into effect in 2023, requiring a minimum rating of E, according to an analysis by commercial real estate company Colliers.
The analysis shows that only approximately 20 per cent of central London offices can be classed as A and B on the EPC rating scale, with the majority (57 per cent) falling into the D to G categories.
Tom Wildash, co-head of the West End Leasing team at Colliers, said: “London’s landlords are going to have to take a long, hard look at their stock and need to take action now to bring their space up to a higher standard.
“One benefit of the pandemic is that it has brought the environmental and wellness credentials of offices to the fore amongst investors, owners and occupiers alike. It is imperative that those owners of offices with low EPC ratings spend the next 18 months on comprehensive refurbishment plans to avoid being left behind and unable to attract new tenants. With a lack of new-build stock in the pipeline and a growing level of demand for best in class space, the refurbishment of London’s offices could do a lot to ease this supply/demand equation.”
The findings should prompt swift action and investment in energy-efficient building technology by commercial landlords, says Priva UK & Ireland. Priva UK, a manufacturer of building automation and building energy management technology, believes that there is much work to be done to bring existing buildings up to a higher standard.
Gavin Holvey, Priva general manager for the UK & Ireland, said: “It is imperative that London’s commercial landlords and real estate asset owners invest now in their existing building stock to bring the energy-efficiency ratings up to scratch.”
He added: “The Colliers report says that while new grade A+ schemes in Central London ‘rightly demand the highest rental levels’, there is a genuine appetite for sympathetically refurbished buildings which benefit from low-carbon technologies and energy management tools. Such buildings will not only contribute to net zero emissions goals, but they are also likely to be much more affordable to the majority of tenants.”
Holvey added: “We must make so much more of the buildings we already have… By upgrading building control systems and taking advantage of cloud-based energy management technologies, we can help to bring existing buildings closer to the operating performance of modern grade A structures. A BMS system – in experienced hands – can deliver 40 per cent savings on energy bills during the operational phase of the building.”
“It’s well known that building from scratch – or indeed demolition and total rebuild – is highly carbon-intensive. We take a view that we must all think smarter – and find new ways to embrace circular economy principles.”