BESA chief

executive David Frise

Emma Brooks, chair of the BESA Energy Efficiency in Buildings group

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the decarbonisation programme would create and support up to 80,000 jobs over the next three decades and was a serious statement of intent ahead of this year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. He said the Government would also introduce new rules for measuring the energy and carbon performance of the largest commercial and industrial buildings that could save businesses around £2bn per year in energy costs by 2030. In the long-term, the Government believes the plan can lead to a 90% cut in emissions by 2050 compared to 2018 levels with heavy industry expected to source 40% of its energy needs from low carbon technologies. Gathering actual energy consumption data – rather than projected or estimated statistics – is the key to delivering meaningful energy efficiency savings, according to BESA. Greater take up of smart metering and open source data sharing would provide building

managers with a clear picture of where they can make the biggest savings and could be linked to specific technical improvements. “Gathering data and then turning it into something

useful around which building operators can build an energy and carbon reduction strategy could unlock millions of pounds in savings every year,” said Frise. “It would also move us relatively quickly and cheaply towards the Government’s longer-term goals and ensure it got the best value from this significant investment.

“There is a very strong case for getting back

to engineering fundamentals here. Poor energy performance of a building is usually an indicator of wider problems with its overall design and operation so there are comfort and safety implications as well.” Frise also stressed the importance of approaching

a building as a “complete system” rather than as a series of loosely connected components. Encouraging a more joined up approach with control systems driven by real-time energy data would be key to delivering the Government’s carbon reduction goals, he added. BESA is working on a series of initiatives aimed at

encouraging better use of energy performance data to drive improvements in non-residential building design and occupant behaviour. It is responding to

the current consultation on revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations and hopes to highlight the role of commercial building retrofits at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November. “The current review of the Building Regulations is an opportunity to embed meaningful steps for measuring, monitoring and improving energy efficiency particularly through the retrofit of existing buildings,” said Brooks. “We must get better at gathering data and even better at turning that information into something usable by building owners and managers.” She said many clients were confused by new

technologies and unsure about how to deploy them to maximum benefit. The use of data to measure performance would help, but there should also be more effort put into educating and informing commercial building users.

The opportunities are still there, but the failure of

the green home grant scheme has once again put the industry on alert. The Government has some work to do to prove that it really does mean business when it comes to improving energy efficiency in buildings.

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