Insight: Mat Lown

Sustainable buildings: climate adaptation and whole life costing

As investors and occupiers place sustainability outcomes higher on their strategic priorities, TFT advice is helping project teams align their sustainable and commercial agendas. Here, we talk about climate change adaptation and whole life costing – two topics which directly marry up commercial and the sustainable concerns.

There are many opportunities to contribute to more sustainable outcomes across the building life-cycle, and to prove the commercial benefits of doing so. TFT Sustainability Associate, Oliver Morris, spoke at the RICS conference on this topic, drawing on TFT’s experience in project teams and as client advisers for building investors and occupiers alike.

Looking for an introduction to aligning commercial and sustainable outcomes? This article explains the importance of long-term thinking and TFT’s approach to design for performance, here.

In this article, we’ll discuss two issues which affect the whole project team and directly impact building longevity and value.

Climate change adaptation

One of the most acute risks to sustainable building performance for investors and building owners is the impact of extreme weather patterns.

The obvious impacts can include physical damage from wind, rain and flooding. But more extreme seasonal temperatures could negatively impact thermal comfort, or increase HVAC use to keep occupants comfortable through the year, which means more frequent plant maintenance or replacement.

Mitigating these risks means designing and building with future weather and climate projections in mind. The most adaptable and durable buildings will maintain their physical integrity and the comfort and wellbeing of its users – adding up to a better-performing asset in the long term.

Whole life cost analysis

In following a strategy for in-use performance, and factoring in the risks of climate change on a building’s future, whole-life costing analysis can help identify the value of building materials in terms of their contribution to a more useful lifespan.

Whole Life Costing allows us to understand the full picture of a building’s requirements across its lifecycle. It provides a commercial basis for improving specification and justifying sustainable materials or systems which improve the financial outlook across a building’s life.

By providing more transparency of potential costs through a building’s life cycle can give investors, development and asset managers more confidence in moving towards business ‘as unusual’ and realising the economic benefits of embedding sustainability as a core design principle. With the increasing Net Zero Carbon agenda within the industry undertaking Whole Life Costing with Whole Life Carbon (Confusingly the same acronym) assessments can highlight the relationship between reducing a building’s operational and embodied carbon emissions with operational costs.

These areas impact all aspects of the building lifecycle, and we at TFT have the scope to identify the opportunities and drive collective responsibility for acting on them. Challenging project teams and other stakeholders to move away from business as usual will be crucial to help us all advance better buildings for the future – and not a moment too soon.

Would you like more information on any of the subjects discussed in this article? Contact Mat Lown, TFT Partner and Head of Sustainability.

Sustainable buildings

The new MEES regulations are here. So is the right support.

On 1 April The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force, making it unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the energy performance certificate (EPC) rating is F or G.

There are exemptions. There are common misunderstandings. And there is a support on hand to review EPCs, at risk properties and landlord and tenant obligations. Like it or not, MEES comes into force on 1 April but with TFT’s help the introduction need not be onerous.

Email us if you would like to discuss your portfolio with one of TFT’s MEES experts.

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Lack of government incentives puts brakes on energy efficiency

80% of commercial property landlords claim a lack of government incentives is the single biggest barrier to widespread energy efficiency measures being introduced across UK commercial real estate, according to TFT, the leading property and construction consultancy, in the TFT Energy Survey 2016 published today.

With a confusing array of disconnected, individual energy regulations, a further 75% have said that the current regulatory framework is too complex to navigate. This comes even though an overwhelming majority of respondents to TFT’s first annual survey (92%) say that attitudes to energy efficiency have improved since the last recession.

Similarly, 90% are clear that energy efficiency is a higher priority in their portfolios than it was before 2008. However, only 35% of investors have introduced a formal energy management system or implemented energy efficiency improvements.

TFT Energy Survey 2016 is TFT’s first annual survey into the current barriers to delivering truly energy efficient real estate. Specifically targeting property investors and managers, it explores a range of key issues including whether energy efficiency has become a higher priority.

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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Guidance Note

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The business case for energy efficient buildings

Mat Lown’s recent article in the Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation TFT explores the policies, regulations and market drivers which influence the energy performance of the built environment.

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Calling time on R22 refrigerant

After 31st December 2014, it will be illegal to use recycled or reclaimed R22 to service air conditioning equipment. This is on top of the current ban on virgin R22 to service air conditioning equipment. As we move closer to the deadline, this is a timely reminder to review the options available ahead of the phase-out date. A useful start point is TFT’s Guidance Note: Refrigeration – Selection and Legislation which covers the issue and outlines the decision criteria to be considered.

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