Energy efficiency in retail property is coming under more scrutiny

BRC guide: 5 steps for better energy efficiency in retail property

Greater collaboration with landlords, more focus on maintenance, and regular reviews of equipment are all recommended to start the journey towards better energy efficiency in retail property, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) trade body.

In a new guide released this week, the BRC aims to prepare the industry for a raft of environmental legislation changes on the horizon that will require more attention to improving energy efficiency in retail property.

The ‘Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction in the Retail Industry’ publication cites figures from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy which show retail accounts for around 17% of energy used by UK buildings.

Building owners and landlords in the retail sector, it adds, are also facing changes in regulations that are creating higher targets for energy efficiency in retail property. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards currently state that an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of at least grade E is required for a new lease, for example.

From April 2023 that requirement will extend to cover existing tenancies, and it is the government’s intention to lift that minimum EPC to a B rating by 2030.  There is also a proposed shift to measurement of energy efficiency in retail property based on metered usage, which will put the onus on tenants to operate the sites they occupy with a greener focus.

The BRC, which produced the report in conjunction with cooling, heating, ventilation and controls solutions provider Mitsubishi Electric, highlighted five ways retailers can make a start on preparing for these changes and navigating towards more energy efficient property management.

Here is the top five guide, below, in the words of the BRC:

  1. Work with your landlord: Where retailers occupy buildings as tenants, it is vital for them to work with their landlords to build a low-carbon strategy, according to the BRC. The trade body has developed a Retailer/Landlord Net Zero Building Protocol which offers important advice on making the most of a cooperative relationship.
  2. Review your equipment: The BRC says a review of all equipment, such as heating and air conditioning systems, will help to establish what equipment is operating in the building, its current state, age and requirements for servicing/replacement.
  3. Focus your service and maintenance on energy efficiency: the BRC gives an example, stating that even in small retail properties, checking on simple areas such as filters on vents or air conditioning outlets can reduce the pressure on fans – which are big energy users. The trade body urges retailers to think about energy use as part of maintenance and servicing equipment because it can help ensure it stays top-of-mind.
  4. Use controls to save energy: Fluctuations in energy use can be seasonal, however the BRC says that by tracking this data over time retailers can quickly spot unexpected changes that can be an indication of equipment performance deterioration.
  5. Prioritise investments: Use the above assessments to guide investments, says the BRC. Getting staff and building occupants on board can also help, it adds, and, if possible, make building occupants aware of the energy use of the building via screen displays or regular reports. Encouraging staff to think about their own energy use at home can be a useful way to engage and involve them in the challenge, the trade body notes.

Read the full report here

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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