COMMERCIAL HEATING - The Challenges
Driven by a pressing need to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, the UK Government has brought in tough new laws and challenging targets. As part of the EU objective to increase the use of renewable energy, the UK has committed to sourcing 15% of it’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Legislation is in place to ensure this happens.
Businesses that consume large amounts of electricity - an estimated 20,000 firms in the UK - are now under serious pressure to cut their use of energy. There will be rewards for those who comply and stiff penalties for those who don’t. Stringent building regulations, enforced by local authorities, now mean that no new-build project will get planning permission without first demonstrating a significant use of renewable energy.
Consequently, the energy-saving issues faced by those involved in heating commercial properties are considerable. As this impacts on specifiers, consultants and developers they will be forced to look for ways to improve efficiency in order to comply.
Planning Authorities demand renewable energy
In line with the UK Government’s commitment towards zero carbon buildings, local planning authorities now specify use of renewable energy as a condition of planning. Targets can be as high as 20%. Many councils, including the Greater London Authority, have stringent methodologies to enforce this, more will follow. Failure to comply will result in planning refusal - a major challenge to those developing the built environment.
Mandatory Carbon Reduction Commitment
The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme poses a further challenge for energy users. From April 2010, any company that consumes over 3,000MWh per year must cut its use of energy or risk financial penalties and public identification. As many as 20,000 UK businesses will be affected.
Energy Performance Certification for new and refurbished buildings
EPC has been introduced in the UK to improve energy conservation in all new and refurbished properties. Since 2006, the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive has demanded that every building sold or leased has an Energy Performance Certificate.
Failure to meet the Government’s stringent targets is certain to affect finances and future plans. Prudent property designers and developers already prioritise efficiency as they recognise the impact that a building’s energy performance has on its value.