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News : European Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15


UK report says Zero-Carbon shops and offices would cost up to 30% more than conventional buildings
By Finfacts Team
Dec 18, 2007, 04:19

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The £500m Heron Tower is Gerald Ronson's latest project and is backed by Middle East investors including the State of Oman. The development of 110 Bishopsgate – Heron Tower, the nucleus of the Heron Plaza complex, in the heart of the City of London, will have a total of 41 storeys. Heron Plaza will include a total area of 97,718 m2 (1,051,446 sq ft).

Gerald Ronson, one of Britain's leading property investors, warned in March 2007 that the industry was heading for a correction amidst over-exuberance from investors.

Ronson, chief executive of private company Heron International, which had to be rescued during the property bust of the early 1990's, told guests at his annual industry lunch at London’s Savoy Hotel that “there can only be one ending” to the then current hot property market.

“We will look back and talk about how obvious the signs were,” Ronson said.

Zero-carbon shops and offices would cost up to 30% more than conventional buildings, according to a new report that was published in the UK on Monday.

The UK government, which is mandating that all new homes must be zero-carbon by 2016, is considering a similar policy for commercial property.

Industry group UK Green Buildings Council (UK-GBC), was asked to assess the practicality of cutting carbon reductions in new commercial buildings.

The report said this was unlikely to be achieved purely through on-site renewable energy e.g. through solar power or biomass plants.

However, net carbon emissions could be cut to zero through better energy efficiency and the production of renewable energy at off-site locations nearby. However, the report – commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government – says that this would come at a cost.

A green office block or shopping centre that met the new criteria could have a premium over other buildings of anything from 5-30%.

In the report, UK-GBC urges the implementation of a European Union law on green buildings as soon as possible. The Energy Performance in Buildings Directive does not have to be implemented by the UK until January 2009.

Click here for the full report.

Key findings in the report are as follows:

  • It IS possible to reduce carbon emissions from energy use down to zero in the majority of new non-domestic buildings, as long as onsite, near-site and offsite renewable solutions are employed

  • There is a cost associated with building to zero carbon. Cost varies widely with both the form and the use of the building. However, preliminary modelling suggest that the premium could range from over 30% down to as low as 5 or 10% of current baseline costs.

  • A challenging yet achievable timeframe for achieving zero carbon new non-domestic buildings along the lines set for housing is needed. With a trajectory in place similar to that adopted for the Code for Sustainable Homes, then a deadline of 2020 could be adopted.

In order for government to take forward these findings and set policy, a substantial amount of further work needs to be done. One of the UK-GBC's key recommendations is the construction of a national database on energy use in non-domestic buildings to improve on the existing incomplete and inconsistent data.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK-GBC said:

"One of the most valuable things about this report has been the willingness of our members to work together, to work out how we can deliver zero carbon new buildings in around 10 years. We have already learnt valuable lessons from the zero carbon homes experience, not least that although there are inevitably extra costs, these costs can be minimised through good design.

"This is about government and industry both taking responsibility. Government needs to accept its responsibility to set good policy focusing on outcomes, and in return industry can and must respond and innovate. UK-GBC members are up for ambitious targets on sustainability.

"We need a policy direction that provides sufficient urgency and certainty for investment, and a trajectory that is ambitious and stretching - but ultimately achievable. To make progress on green building we should be bold in our target setting, and work together to overcome the challenges en route".

The UK-GBC is an industry led, independent, not-for-profit, membership based organisation whose mission is to dramatically improve the sustainability of the built environment by radically transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated. It includes such companies as Arup, Jones Lang Lasalle and M&S.

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© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

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