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Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment at RICS outlines the RICS' commitment to lowering carbon across UK commercial property

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment at RICS outlines the RICS' commitment to lowering carbon across UK commercial propertyWith the coalition having set ambitious carbon reduction targets as part of its commitment to the creation of a genuine green economy, the onus has fallen on owners and occupiers to improve the sustainable credentials of the UK’s commercial property stock. This can be a daunting task with the associated costs of ‘greening’ many older buildings to the required level outweighing the value of those properties. It is therefore imperative that the industry starts to address these targets now and has the support it needs to do so.

Indeed the government’s Low Carbon Construction Action Plan contains a number of initiatives designed to help with achieving its target of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. At RICS we have also prioritised lowering carbon by making it one of the cornerstones of our 2013 Construction Policy.  This focus is aimed at supporting the construction industry in delivering the highest quality, sustainable buildings as well as retrofitting existing stock at a cost efficient level.

RICS’ lower carbon agenda

At the heart of this is our information paper on the measurement of embodied carbon, which enables whole-life carbon appraisals at every stage of the construction process and throughout operation. This will vastly improve the ability to monitor the carbon emissions of a building from design to demolition and therefore calculate which measures will best improve the energy efficiency of that property. In time, we will also be looking to extend this to support challenges associated with carbon at the demolition stage, where there is significant potential for recovering and recycling products.

Our information paper will support the retrofitting of our existing built environment, 80 per cent of which is anticipated to still be with us by 2050. In addition, we have outlined a commitment in our 2013 Construction Policy to publish specific guidance for members and property professionals on the adaptation of existing buildings, which will help with ensuring sustainability can remain cost effective.

Change, however, will only come from a market that values energy efficiency and recognises the benefits it can bring in terms of cost savings. We believe this needs to come from all corners of the market, from the big players to SMEs – and therefore our support is tailored to the relevant parts of the market.

Initiatives such as EcoPAS, which RICS is championing alongside IPD and a number of large institutional funds including Aviva Investors, Henderson Global Investors, Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Limited, Legal & General and M&G Real Estate, has demonstrated the correlation between value and sustainability as well as the appetite amongst owners for energy efficient buildings.

To ensure SMEs, which drive our economy, do not get left behind we have called on the government to provide clearer guidance, including incentives and drivers, on lowering carbon emissions specifically to these companies. In addition, our guidance and training is readily available for our significant SME membership.

We are working closely with the construction industry, commercial property owners and occupiers as well as the government to achieve the 2050 carbon reduction targets - which are undoubtedly ambitious. However, we believe that through the provision of guidance and the sharing of information, they can be achieved.

For more information on RICS’ 2013 Construction Policy and lower carbon initiatives visit:

http://www.rics.org/uk/tag/construction/

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 2nd September 2013 (updated 03/09/2013)

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