Landlords claim energy efficiency measures do not make business sense without Government help

Greening the existing non-domestic building stock would mean developers would have to run at a loss, according to a leading developer.

Hilary Reid Evans, sustainability head at Quintain, made the remarks as part of her evidence to the All-Party Urban Development Group’s inquiry, ‘Greening existing non-domestic buildings.’

“We can’t afford to green our stock of buildings,” said Evans. “We have to take this to the board. It would turn us into a loss-making organisation.”

She said that the capital expenditure was the tip of the iceberg, pointing to the loss of rental income while properties remained vacant as well as the inability to recoup the cost of the upgrade following the process.

Evans called for either a reduced rate liability or a reduction in stamp duty to compensate for the work.

Bill Wright, environment and energy manager at John Lewis Partnerships, agreed, saying: “There’s not quite enough incentive to make us make changes to buildings.

“We have spent tens of thousands of pounds on improving our stores and haven’t saved any money.”

However, Committee Vice-Chair, Lord Richard Best, said that it was important to the Government to know that the tax payer was getting ‘bang for its buck’ in any investment or tax break.

Other participants, including representatives from Drivers Jonas, the London Climate Change Agency and the UKGBC, said corporate social responsibility was a bigger driver to improvements than energy prices, although Wright said the latter's recent rise was 'top of mind.'