TFT contributes to World GBC sustainable renovation report

By Mat Lown

The World Green Building Council (GBC) recognises the role of renovating building stock to boost economic recovery across Europe following the COVID-19 pandemic and its wider effects. To that end, the World GBC has issued guidance and case studies on leading sustainable building renovation programmes. Published under the EU-funded BUILD UPON2 project, the Starting a Renovation Wave Report (download link) is now available.

The report summarises the World GBC’s recommended approach to sustainable renovations:

  • Starting local with best practice case studies of sustainable building renovations.
  • Use leaders and regulators, including mandatory energy performance requirements to drive building standards such as the UK’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
  • Systemic impact tracking to enable cities and local authorities to understand the outcomes of their initiatives.
  • Convene diverse stakeholders across the building and construction value chain to solve sustainable renovation barriers together.

In terms of regulation, the UK’s MEES certification is a unique proposition in global real estate, because it imposes a minimum standard for a building to achieve before it is let or sold.

TFT is often brought in to advise investors and building owners on their buildings’ operational energy use, with a view to MEES and its impact on property or portfolio’s commercial prospects. No other country has a requirement as consequential as this in the market and, looking ahead, it’s possible the UK government will go on to introduce higher standards still.

Partner and Head of Sustainability Mat Lown contributed to the report’s deep dive on MEES in the UK, explaining how our clients are responding to the regulations and expect it to tighten in the near future.

“Of the several thousand properties and transactions that we’ve been involved in, we’ve only lodged two exemptions, which is because either we were able to improve the rating by accurately modelling the property and/or by our clients carrying out cost-effective improvements to secure a compliant rating. However, with the continue to let provisions kicking in for non-domestic property in 2023 and if the minimum standard tightens to a B in 2030, then I expect it will become more challenging to meet the standard and therefore, expect there to be an increase in the number of exemptions.

The future trajectory of MEES is very much on our clients’ radar with the acceptance that the minimum standard is likely to move to a B within the next 10 years.”

Mat Lown, TFT Partner and Head of Sustainability