Report reveals potential for retrofit and refurbishment

Towards Zero, a new report issued by Skanska has revealed that the green retrofit and refurbishment market in the UK is gaining momentum and has the potential to become the next big thing within the commercial property sector.

The research among senior executives in the commercial development sector reveals the extent to which commercial developers are already undertaking green retrofit and refurbishment projects and realising the benefits.

It found that over a third (35%) had already undertaken a green retrofit or refurbishment project and 78% reported a positive outcome from undertaking such a project citing increased client or tenant demand, proven reduction in energy consumption and improved marketability of the property as benefits.

Potential profit

Of those who hadn’t yet undertaken a green retrofit or refurbishment project nearly a third intended to in the future, with 47% viewing green retrofit and refurbishment as a potential source of opportunity and profit

This is backed up by the fact that just over half (53%) of the respondents had seen an increased interest in green retrofit and refurbishment and (33%) perceived it to be the next big thing in the commercial property sector.

Over half (55%) of the respondents thought that government legislation and the green agenda was currently stimulating the emergence of this market. Client and tenant demand came second place and according to 49% this stemmed more from an increased focus on corporate social responsibility rather than a desire to meet environmental targets. When asked what would encourage more commercial developers to take on green retrofit and refurbishment projects three quarters (75%) stated mandatory government regulations, with 59% saying increased client demand and 57% stated evidence of better and quicker return on investment, followed by 39% citing government green incentives.

Integrated approach

Yet there are challenges to be overcome in order for the industry to realise the full potential. Nearly three quarters (71%) acknowledged that these projects are hard to get right because an integrated and planned approach is needed from the outset, while 61% realised planning would need to be changed to make the most of green technologies.

Craig Sparrow, Director of Green Business at Skanska said: “This report reveals positive evidence that some commercial developers are already embracing and seeing the benefits of green retrofit and refurbishment. It shows that the industry is ready to contribute to a low carbon economy and that early adopters will be market leaders in the real estate sector.

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