I am certainly of the opinion that we must place greater emphasis on the need to improve the energy efficiency of the existing building stock (23 June, page 30).

However, before embarking on such an exercise, there has to be consideration of what existing stock is to receive the attention. It has to be categorised, as there is no point in expending time and energy on buildings that are on their last legs – as much of the stock is.

Perhaps the real test of the desire to extend the life of an existing building is the inherent value that it possesses, both in terms of money and amenity to our society. So perhaps we need to appeal to the ultimate freeholder/user and apply an acid test of their resolve: tax (further) energy use and steer the resultant revenue into perpetuating the cause. Harsh but effective.

Aidan McLeod, Multiplex Developments