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Who’s afraid of refurbishment?

8 July 2010 No Comment

We all know that improving energy efficiency of buildings and reducing our demand for energy is a priority if we are to cut carbon emissions, but whilst environmental concerns are clearly important, they are simply not enough on their own to secure genuine buy-in from the wider industry and building owners alike.


The real motivating factor is, as often the case, economic.

Energy efficiency measures in refurbishment projects

Escalating energy costs makes reducing energy consumption good for the pocket as well as the planet. This is of course obvious, but the main barrier to action seems to reside in the misconception that incorporating energy efficiency measures into a refurbishment project  is fraught with difficulty and expense.

In some instances, particularly older buildings, this can obviously be the case – especially where this would involve work to the building’s structure. However, for more recent buildings, particularly in the industrial and commercial shed sector, significant improvements can be made that are highly cost effective, and will add value to the property itself. For example, by achieving high-levels of air-tightness and thermal efficiency in the building envelope, significant energy and CO2 savings can be made. Achieving this on a refurbishment project is often simply a case of attention to detail and specifying the right products.

Energy efficient buildings command a higher rental and wholesale value

It is not just through improved energy efficiency and reduced consumption where economic benefits can be derived. We are now starting to see tangible evidence that energy efficient buildings command a higher rental and wholesale value.

A recent McGraw-Hill study revealed that thermally efficient buildings command 3 per cent higher rental rates and an average increase of 7.5 per cent in building value. Alongside this, the study found that they can deliver a 3.5 per cent higher occupancy rate and ultimately improve return on investment by an average of 6.6 per cent. Even though the study is US based, given the strength of the statistics, the UK is sure to follow.

Whilst there has been concern that the current economic climate may impact negatively on sustainable building practices, what I believe we are actually seeing, somewhat ironically, is a change of focus on how we perceive these practices, as well as a realisation that improvements to our existing building stock are as much about saving money and adding value, as they are about saving the planet.

By Dave Taylor, Business Development Manager at Corus Colors

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