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UK retailers and landlords drive towards greener properties

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·Business reporter
·3-min read
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UK retailers and landlords drive towards greener properties
The protocol calls on property owners to improve energy efficiency by working collaboratively and investing in improvements such as insulation, as well as making it easier to share data on energy use. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

UK retailers and landlords have joined forces in a bid to make property greener as the country seeks to reduce carbon emissions.

The move, which is part of the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Climate Action Roadmap, aims to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, and embrace renewable energy associated with retail properties.

The protocol calls on property owners to improve energy efficiency by working collaboratively and investing in improvements such as insulation, as well as making it easier to share data on energy use.

It also asks them to support greater on-site generation of sustainable energy, exploring options for purchasing renewable energy to drive costs down, and to consider the scope for offsetting carbon emissions through increased on-site biodiversity.

Watch: What is net zero?

Some of the investments also include building fabric and systems installed in estates, higher EPC ratings, and shared investment in LED lighting and air conditioning.

Read more: UK must mandate top firms to plan for net zero, warns WWF

The BRC’s roadmap, which is supported by more than 75 major retailers, aims to ensure the sector, and its supply chains, are net zero by 2040, a decade ahead of the government’s target for the UK as a whole.

In 2017, the full life-cycle of the industry’s sold goods had a footprint of around 215 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent — 31% of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with UK consumption.

“The Net Zero Building Protocol is a great opportunity for retailers and property owners to work together towards a greener future. The protocol is the first of its kind to address the sustainability of retail sites with an ambition to improve energy efficiency and embrace renewable energy,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said.

“Climate action demands cross-industry collaboration, and this protocol gives retailers and property owners the language and structure to create a greener property market.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive of British Property Federation, said: “Landlords are committed and ambitious about retrofitting properties to improve energy efficiency and deliver on net zero.

“We welcome an initiative that brings tenants and landlords together to reduce carbon emissions, as open dialogue and data-sharing will be vital to effective collaboration and delivery.”

It comes as the UK government is planning to offer homeowners in England and Wales a £5,000 ($6,894) grant to swap out their old gas boilers for low-carbon heat pumps.

The move is part of more than £3.9bn of new funding to decarbonise heating in buildings, one of the largest sources of UK carbon emissions. It currently accounts for 21% of the total.

It is hoped that the scheme will incentivise people to install the new heating systems, which do not emit carbon when used, over the next decade to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels. Heat pumps extract warmth from the air, the ground, or water, and are powered by electricity.

New grants will be available through a new £450m three-year boiler upgrade scheme from April next year.

Watch: What will the world look like in 2030, 2040, 2050?

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