Steve Judge is Founder & Chairman of Space Solutions

WITH COP27 under way in Sharm El Sheikh, we are continuing to adopt new tactics to meet government targets for reducing carbon emissions set in Glasgow exactly a year ago. This same challenge is also affecting landlords and the need to future-proof commercial buildings.

Pressure to reduce energy consumption is increasing and landlords are faced with balancing the cost of improvements now versus prospects of future rental income.

Regulation requires ever-greater energy efficiency. Potential tenants are driven by their own social responsibility commitments as well as the desire to minimise operational energy costs. Funders want comfort that buildings can continue to meet regulations as well as tenant expectations into the future. Landlords must deliver these considerations or risk losing key funding and potential rental opportunities.

Making buildings energy-efficient in order to meet user demand is paramount. But let’s be clear, an energy-efficient building with the wrong facilities is a non-starter, and green energy will simply be wasted. Landlords should consider all aspects of a building when carrying out retrofit improvements. Ensuring flexibility to suit a wide range of occupier needs is imperative.

Recently, we at Space Solutions supported the redevelopment of 4-5 Lochside Avenue in Edinburgh, a project undertaken with Knight Property Group. The task was to improve an existing vacant office building by taking a fresh approach to energy efficiency, as well as modifying the internal configuration to improve the flexibility of its interior to appeal to multiple prospective tenants. The project was completely dedicated to a sustainable, retrofit refurbishment approach which aligned with the client’s carbon reduction ambitions.

The results of the project exceeded expectations. The building’s interior was transformed into bright, adaptable spaces suited to the needs of tenants. We also made a complete change to the heating system, switching from old gas boilers to being fully electric, and moved to LED lighting throughout. This strategy, along with installing solar panels, means the building is running completely on renewable energy. It has been calculated that repurposing the existing building rather than constructing a new building has saved more than 2,300 tonnes of CO2. Furthermore, it has generated a significant interest in the space from new prospective occupiers.

Every organisation needs to focus on their own commitments to reducing carbon emissions. Each retrofit project has its own challenges and considerations dependant on the type of building, location and funding available. But, in order for landlords to implement a truly sustainable strategy, there is a need for a co-ordinated effort and an honest discussion about user demand. Landlords hold the key to unlocking the low carbon workplaces that we need to deliver.