At this year’s EMEX show in London (November 21st and 22nd), energy managers, suppliers and experts gathered to discuss the state of energy supply, use and savings in the UK today and the near future.
One of the most important underlying themes of the event’s many seminars was that government legislation and institutional money are pushing building owners and managers to greater efficiency. And that makes for a powerful combined force.
The danger is that buildings which don’t perform end up as stranded assets
Welcome to SECR
The key government legislation is the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting scheme (SECR). In April 2019, this will replace the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme which closes in the same month. Lord Rupert Redesdale, chief executive of the Energy Managers Association, speaking at EMEX said: “The SECR will include 11,900 organisations in the UK, including some which have not been eligible for the CRC, which only covered 4,000 businesses.”
From April 2019, qualifying unquoted companies will have to include in their annual director’s report their energy use and scope 1 and 2 emissions (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy). Energy includes electricity, gas and transport.
In addition to submitting simple figures, companies also have to supply what Redesdale referred to as a ‘narrative’ about their energy efficiency actions taken over the previous year.
“This makes energy use and energy efficiency a public matter for businesses,” said Redesdale. “By putting the information into reports that are filed at Companies House, anyone can read what actions a business is taking to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.”
A set of tools
There’s no doubt that for many companies affected by the new reporting requirements, April 2019 is a pretty short deadline. The EMA is working on a set of tools to make these new requirements more achievable – and useful – for companies who don’t have in-house expertise to call on.
At this time (early December) the details of SECR are yet to be finalised by government. But it’s safe to say that it is now even more important that companies can identify, collect and manage data on energy use and any energy efficiency programmes they are running.
Another very important trend highlighted at this year’s seminars was that institutional investors are looking ever-more closely at the environmental credentials of their property investments. Debbie Hobbs, head of sustainability for real assets at Legal & General Investment Management, said: “Investors are looking at how assets in the built environment align to a 2-degree world. If they don’t, then those investors are going to start divesting. The danger is that buildings which don’t perform end up as stranded assets.’
There is an increasingly strong link between the environmental performance of built assets, their financial value – and corporate reputation. When major forces such as these begin to bring pressure to bear on an issue, it’s fairly certain that the market will shift. In 2019 there is no doubt that we will see even greater emphasis on energy efficiency in buildings.