Blueprints Are Going Greener; with Climate Change Moving Ever Higher Up the Political Agenda, More Focus Is Being Put on the Environmental Sustainability of Commercial Property, Says David Codling of Priority Sites

Article excerpt

Byline: David Codling

PLANNING authorities are increasingly scrutinising applications for their so-called eco-credentials, and are paying higher regard to those that will help businesses reduce carbon emissions.

There are several drivers at work that are accelerating the "greening" pace. In this year's Budget the Government announced that the climate change levy would be linked to inflation, and that more support would

be given to local power generation, not only within homes but also commercial premises.

With discussions continuing over the merits of introducing a carbon tax there is a clearer intent to speed up the reduction of carbon emissions. We're finding more businesses moving to new premises, are factoring in a building's running costs, particularly owner-occupiers who will reap the longer-term benefits.

We are seeing the impact of the Kyoto Treaty starting to filter down at planning level, with some authorities in the UK specifying the need for renewable energy sources to be incorporated.

The development industry's rubber-stamping of a building's environmental sustainability is the voluntary standard Building Research Establishments Environmental Assessment Method (Breeam), which is widely regarded as the measure of best practice in the UK with assessments carried out by independent assessors.

A Breeam-rated building considers the efficiency of energy usage with measures such as the highest quality of insulation, more efficient heating and lighting systems, water-saving features, and local environmental impact. …