A clear map for the road to sustainability

Steve Page, director, building and project consultancy team, Savills, and head of GreenFiT

ESG has rapidly risen up the agenda in the past few years. Landlords of existing assets are continuously looking for ways to ensure their buildings comply with changing regulations and market expectations both to protect the planet and their investment. Critical, however, is cost. While wholesale changes don’t come cheap, stranded assets pose a considerable risk to a business.

What’s the solution?
The solution is to map out the sustainability journey of a building, from the assessment of its energy performance to an implementable plan and the delivery of targeted interventions. Knowing where a building currently stands on sustainability will illustrate not only the scale of the challenge ahead, but also the opportunity.

What does a plan look like?

A plan involves looking at the data and understanding what’s driving energy consumption and carbon emissions. Then it’s all about optimisation and making sure an asset is as lean as possible by reducing energy use.

There is the potential that larger interventions will have to be made, such as identifying when materials and services are reaching end-of-life and implementing plant replacement strategies, maintenance cycles and lease events.

How to implement a plan

It is important to move beyond reporting and take action to provide tangible results.

Monitoring and testing outcomes will ensure that the asset is operating as intended and, where possible, that this is verified using certified schemes. Having access to accurate energy consumption profiles and data can not only influence the management of the building but can be shared with occupiers to ensure they are part of the journey.

Measuring outcomes

Once the plan is in place and fully implemented, the outcomes can fully transform an asset. This can mean anything from tenant retention and improved rental value to a greater insight and monitoring capability to maintain this level of performance moving forward.

Savills carried out a net zero pathway and EPC analysis of Deka’s 310,000 sq ft King’s Place in order to enhance the asset and align with both occupier and market requirements. This included providing a project planner to clearly demonstrate when works should be undertaken, as well as installing a new building management and controls system to enable accurate energy management.

As a result of the proposed interventions, the EPC rating is expected to improve from a C to a B, with the building management and controls system optimisation delivering 30-40% improvements on building energy efficiency and performance. Feasibility studies will be undertaken to explore further innovative options for sustainability improvements.

Ensuring your building is ESG compliant doesn’t need to cost the earth and sustainable solutions can be developed for most assets moving forward.

Steve Page is a director in Savills’ building and project consultancy team and head of GreenFiT