Building Efficiency: Reducing energy demand in the commercial sector

The WSBF and Carbon Connect have published a new report. Co-Chaired by Lord Whitty (Lab) and Oliver Colvile MP (Con), the report investigates ways of increasing the take up of energy efficiency measures in the commercial sector.

The report was formally launched on 2nd December in Parliament at a panel debate chaired by Lord Whitty and Oliver Colvile and featured representatives from Government and Industry.

The report outlines the case for investment by businesses in the energy efficiency of their buildings and operations and highlights how this could help neutralise the threat to profitability posed by increasing energy bills, energy price volatility and an increasing reliance on electricity in the commercial sector. The report highlights that business in the UK have the opportunity to not only reduce energy bills but increase their competitiveness and improve worker productivity through better designed buildings.

The report is the culmination of a 6-month inquiry co-chaired by Lord Whitty and Oliver Colvile MP and makes a series of recommendations including:

  • Use the Green Investment Bank to fund a commercial subsidiary of The Green Deal Finance Company, under guarantee from HM Treasury, to offer low interest loans to SMEs, to stimulate the market for energy efficiency.
  • Launch national and ‘street by street’ awareness raising campaigns to better communicate the easy availability of Government-backed loans for energy efficiency measures via the non-domestic Green Deal scheme.
  • Use Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to help drive roll-out of energy efficiency measures amongst local businesses, by putting clearer guidance and instruction in future LEP funding streams;
  • Improve awareness of energy efficiency measures in UK boardrooms by forcing senior company executives to sign off the ESOS Assessor’s final report of a company’s energy efficiency performance;
  • Compile a comprehensive database of UK commercial buildings based on their energy efficiency, in order to provide a performance benchmark and help foster a culture of awareness and competition;
  • Clampdown on commercial landlords failing to meet minimum energy efficiency standards by increasing financial penalties for those failing to produce Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates for their buildings
  • Help landlords make improvements by extending to 12 months the length of time a landlord can receive empty property rate relief from Local Authorities – providing energy efficiency improvements are being made.


“The need to increase the resilience of our businesses against the threat of climate change, and energy price volatility could not be greater. The obvious cost savings, coupled with improved productivity that can be realised from energy efficiency, makes it quite clear that now is the time to invest on a large scale. To do that requires government intervention – to raise awareness, guarantee low cost loans, stimulate the market and incentivise the landlords. This report lays out clearly how that can be achieved quickly and cost effectively.”

Inquiry co-chair Oliver Colvile MP

“This report shows clearly a worrying lack of understanding across the UK commercial sector of both the benefits of improved energy efficiency and the ways in which companies can finance and engage in improvements. The Government needs to be clearer about all of the non-domestic energy efficiency programmes available to the commercial sector and an energy efficiency ‘hub’ website must be created to guide senior executives through investment in energy efficiency."

Inquiry co-chair Lord Whitty

This report has been kindly sponsored by Rockwool and Siemens.