Drive for greener buildings taking the wrong road

26 Sep 2013

Policy area: Sustainability

The Scottish Property Federation has today warned that Scottish Government proposals to improve energy efficiency standards in newly built non-domestic properties by a further 43 per cent from 2015 will hit property development and the wider economy.

While welcoming the news that the introduction of the proposals have been delayed until October 2015 from 2013, the SPF warned with development already at historic lows, ‎these further regulations will make developing in Scotland even harder.‎ Furthermore with mandatory building improvements set to be introduced next year whenever older properties are sold or leased the government may have triggered additional costs and risks to businesses seeking to move or to improve their premises.

David Melhuish, director ‎of the Scottish Property Federation, said: "With development levels still a fraction of pre-recession levels, any further regulation risks choking off future development activity at the point our economy needs it most.

"The property industry unquestionably needs to play its part in reducing carbon emissions, but such onerous proposals are not the way to achieve it while our economy is so fragile.  Theoretical improvements in energy efficiency for properties that even if they are built will barely register as a fraction of the property stock by 2020, will not necessarily reduce carbon emissions in the way previous increases might hitherto have achieved.” 

“We have to question how much further benefit can be achieved by improvement to the fabric of modern buildings.  Alternative means of reducing carbon emissions must be a large part of the answer.  Indeed building regulations may not actually reduce carbon emissions at all depending on how the buildings are used.  The government has taken the wrong road and needs to shift its emphasis to behaviour rather than regulation."