Commercial property owners 'need to focus on climate change'

by Sarah Ashcroft

Landlords have to pay increasing amounts of attention to energy efficiency these days, as commercial lease agreements can often hang on how big the business expects its gas and electricity bills to be. While energy costs are rising, a new warning suggests commercial landlords will have to give even more thought to environmentalism.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) makes the case for a major upgrade of Britain's commercial property stock, claiming climate change will cost businesses up to £355 million a year, with the retail sector and firms with warehouses the hardest hit by higher electricity costs

Climate change will force occupiers of commercial property across the country to use "significantly more electricity to run their buildings", Rics says. Businesses using warehouses and the retail sector will be the hardest hit, it adds.

Martin Russell-Croucher, Rics director of sustainability and special projects, says many of Britain's commercial properties are not suitably equipped to cope with the future predicted changes in climate.

"Many existing properties may become too pricey to run and unsuitable to provide employees with the right conditions to work," he adds.

For example, a commercial property of around 2,500 sq m in London can expect to pay more than £5,000 per year in electricity by 2030. Landlords able to respond to this issue now may be able attract tenants more readily than those who fail to act.

"It is important that property professionals and businesses understand how they can and should adapt, and maintain their buildings now to ensure they are not only cost efficient but also sustainable for generations to come," explains Mr Rusell-Croucher. "Failure to do so, can result in electricity costs spiralling out of control."

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Published on: March 16, 2012

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