Go Green to Be Black; in Association with RBS It's Not Just Homes That Are Now Judged on Energy Efficiency. with Recent Warnings over the Impending Introduction of New Energy Performance Certificates for Commercial Properties, Richard Farrey Examines How the Efficiency Ratings of Offices Could Have a Significant Impact on the Asset Value

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Byline: Richard Farrey

IT'S never too early to start thinking green - and now is the time for developers, commercial property owners and landlords to ponder how offices are going to meet obligations under a new European directive.

As green issues have become increasingly important, we have seen major property developers incorporating more and more eco-friendly features into office buildings, such as turbines to generate power, solar thermal water heating, grass roofs to insulate buildings and high-efficiency lighting and enhanced skylights that increase natural light and cut electricity consumption.

This has been led by the requirements of institutional investment funds and their increasing awareness of their corporate and social responsibilities.

However, though many offices start out with a high Breeam rating, they are sometimes modified by occupiers in such a way that energy efficiency is reduced. One of the most common examples is an open plan building being subdivided with partitions, which demands more air conditioning units.

Despite evidence that new offices are being designed with eco-friendly features, green issues are often overlooked in refurbishment, even though many of these features can be easily integrated into an older property.

This will change in April when the obligations of Energy Performance Certificates are extended to major refurbishments of properties over 1,000sq m. …