The British Property Federation (BPF), in partnership with JLL, releases its Towards Net Zero: Challenges, opportunities and policy recommendations report today (20 February 2023). The report identifies the key challenges the property sector faces as it decarbonises and provides a series of policy recommendations. This research was also supported by Derwent London, Dorrington, Greengage Environmental, Maples Teesdale and TFT.
The report identifies access to data as a major challenge, with property owners and occupiers referencing it as one of the top three challenges to decarbonising. The lack of data makes it difficult to calculate accurate operational carbon and set realistic carbon reduction targets.
Policy and regulatory uncertainty and a lack of financial incentives to support the retrofitting of buildings are hindering progress. Transitioning to net zero comes at considerable cost, and without robust evidence of a return on investment, many property owners lack the confidence to invest in major energy efficiency upgrades.
The report also reveals that 9 in 10 senior leaders surveyed do not believe that current Government policy will deliver a net zero property sector by 2050.
“The property sector is fully committed to decarbonisation but there are huge barriers and costs to overcome. We need clear long-term policies, regulation and incentives to support the industry’s efforts. We urge the Government to adopt the policy recommendations in this report and to work with us to make sure we can deliver a net zero built environment by 2050.”Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation
To ensure the property sector can meet net zero targets the BPF has set out several essential policies:
- Mandate the sharing of energy consumption data between property owners and occupiers of large commercial buildings and set up a Task Force to explore the particular data challenges faced by owners of residential buildings.
- Confirm urgently the detail of the planned changes to the MEES regulations for both the domestic and non-domestic private rented sectors, and the details of the proposed new performance-based energy rating system.
- Zero rate VAT on residential repairs and maintenance and reform capital allowances to incentivise investment to decarbonise.
- Move towards the mandatory installation of PV and/or green roofs on large residential, commercial and public buildings.
- Strengthen the criteria for a green tariff label.
- Allow Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) to invest in off-site renewables.
- Align, and resource, the planning system to enable the net zero transition.
- Mandate the use and disclosure of Life Cycle Assessments and set embodied carbon reduction targets.
“There is no denying that the real estate industry is committed to net zero, with pledges being made at a global, national and local level, but these pledges need to be turned into credible action. Without clear incentives and regulation from Government we will continue to fall short of targets. The report highlights the insight we can garner when we collaborate and this collaboration, along with Government support is critical.”Guy Grainger, President of BPF and Global Head of Sustainability Services & ESG at JLL
The BPF launched its Net Zero Pledge last year. The Pledge is an industry-wide initiative to cut carbon emissions across the whole of the property sector – and it is designed to complement and support wider sector and industry net zero initiatives.