UKGBC to accelerate action on commercial retrofit

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has announced a team of cross-industry experts who will support its mission to accelerate commercial retrofit.

The energy required to heat, power and operate commercial buildings accounts for nearly a quarter of the built environment’s carbon footprint in the UK1. Securing a net zero built environment in line with the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved without addressing the operational emissions associated with this sector, meaning it is essential that the UK property sector accelerates the delivery of commercial retrofit programmes. 

In addition to the climate impact of commercial buildings, accelerating the pace of commercial retrofit will also be required to meet the growing demand for sustainable office space. Recent analysis from UKGBC member JLL has revealed that real estate assets with stronger sustainability credentials are increasingly attracting higher capital values and rents. Their research indicates that office buildings that are more sustainable are likely to drive greater interest from occupiers on account of the reduced operating and energy costs. Furthermore, JLL note the forthcoming tightening of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) means investors are likely to consider more sustainable buildings to be less risky, and that it will pay to be on the front foot and invest in the green building sector now. 

Given the scale of energy efficiency improvements required to secure a net zero built environment, and the financial value it can unlock for asset owners, UKGBC is embarking on a new project to deepen understanding of the carbon and cost effectiveness of different retrofit measures for commercial assets. It will explore how to overcome common challenges faced by industry, as well as expand on UKGBC’s recent guide ‘Delivering Net Zero: Key considerations for Commercial Retrofit’, clarifying how to set out retrofit strategies for different asset types and providing more detail on tangible measures.  

To support this project, UKGCB has mobilised a team of 30+ experts from across the industry, ranging from developers, investors to cost consultants. The new Task Group will support UKGBC in exploring common retrofit measures that offer different types of office properties a pathway to achieving net zero carbon. They will do this through assessing real world case studies in the UK, understanding where retrofit measures have been effective and where lessons have been learnt. The findings of this study are expected to be published in Summer 2023. 

UKGBC’s Head of Climate Action, Yetunde Abdul said: “Improving the energy efficiency of our commercial buildings has the potential to deliver significant carbon savings across the built environment, and with demand for sustainable office space surging in the UK, this is an opportunity we can’t afford to waste. Collaboration across this sector is key to accelerating the pace of action towards our common climate goals. That is precisely why UKGBC has assembled a team representing the breadth of the built environment to assist us on this timely and important piece of work.”

Task Group individuals supporting this project include:  

  • Georgia Hilling, Cost Consultant, Arcadis  
  • Phil Clark, Partner – Office Sector Lead for Cost Management, Arcadis 
  • Michael Wadsworth, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Arup  
  • Paul Warrick, Director – Sustainability & Projects, Assura  
  • Joel Coakeley, Sustainability manager, BAM 
  • Peter Fisher, Director, Bennett Associates  
  • Dan Coston, Partner, Bidwells 
  • Richard Kaye, Director, BNP Paribas Real Estate  
  • Alex Edwards, Sustainability Director, Bruntwood 
  • Etienne Humphries, Head of Building Performance, Bruntwood 
  • David Hodge, Director – M&E and Sustainability, Canary Wharf Group  
  • Lisa Ithurralde, Sustainability Manager, Capco  
  • Tom Attree, Director of Sustainability and Technology, Capco  
  • Matthew Hart, CEO, CarbonShift 
  • Owen Connick, Strategic Leader – Building Sustainability, Carrier 
  • Antonette Easwaranathan, Senior Consultant, CBRE 
  • Davion Cheng, Associate Director, Energy Engineering lead, CBRE 
  • Simon Bennett, Associate Director, Civic Engineers  
  • Michelle Wang, Sustainability Manager, Deloitte 
  • Ben Cross, General Projects  
  • Victoria Herring, Director, Sustainability Programme, Grosvenor  
  • John Pirouet, Associate Director, Hoare Lea 
  • Matthew Daniel, Associate, Hoare Lea 
  • Imogen Christodoulou, Senior Associate, Hoare Lea 
  • Mike Linehan, Divisional Director – Low Carbon Retrofit, ISG  
  • Niall Robertson, Director, Building Consultancy, JLL  
  • Daniel Coakley, Sustainability Manager, Lloyds Banking Group 
  • Chinyelu Oranefo, Director, ESG & Finance, Lloyds Banking Group 
  • Kieran Crowe, Director Net Zero Buildings, Low Carbon Alliance  
  • Chris Newman, Zero Carbon Design Manager, Mitsubishi Electric 
  • Bahareh Salehi, Building Physics Engineer, Mott Macdonald  
  • Alexandros Chalkias, Associate Director – Sustainable Design, Savills Earth 
  • Brian O’Malley, Modernisation Leader, Digital Energy, Schneider Electric  
  • Bettina Brehler, Director, Squire & Partners  
  • Domenico Gabriele, Director of Capital Projects, The Crown Estate  
  • David Shaw, Director, Torridon  
  • Chris Joyce, Technical Decarbonisation Consultant, Turner & Townsend  
  • Jack Millard, Associate, Twin Earth  
  • Dave Worthington, Managing Director, Verco  
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