BCO research suggests that overall costs of on-site reneables far outweigh financial benefits

London skyline

Research carried out for the British Council for Offices (BCO) has found that the long-term cost of on-site renewable measures - such as biomass boilers - hugely outweighs their environmental financial benefit.

Researchers calculated, based on a survey of 77 developments, that the long-term cost of on-site renewables in central London totalled £174m over the technology’s lifetime, but delivered just £18m in savings, as defined by the net value of carbon emissions saved over that period.

The report says in some instances developers pay up to £2,800 to save a tonne of carbon while in other sectors the government was finding it hard to justify burdens of £60-90 per tonne required to make carbon capture and storage viable.

Commercial properties in the City should use large-scale renewable energy solutions instead of on-site measures to meet carbon-reduction targets, the report says.

The study by Sturgis Carbon Profiling says district-wide solutions such as combined heat-and-power plants should be explored, which runs counter to the Greater London Authority’s policy of targeting a 20% reduction in on-site carbon emissions through on-site measures.

Author Gareth Roberts said more flexible policies combining on-site renewables with the purchase of carbon allowances from developers that exceed emission reduction targets should be introduced.