The retail sector needs to work more closely with facilities managers to cut energy use dramatically, according to the Crown Estate.
Paul Clark, the Crown Estate’s director of investment told FM World that better collaboration between FM and shop managers enabled clearer decision making and planning in energy use, which was inextricably linked to sustainability and long-term commercial success.
The Crown Estate has Regent Street in its property portfolio so the advice has great weight as well as being backed by experience.
Paul said: “For progressive landlords creating world-class retail or, indeed, office destinations is only one part of a much wider picture. Consumers are increasingly making choices based not just on the quality of a product but on how businesses are run and the values they stand for.”
The need for collaboration to ensure maximum energy efficiencies is reflected in figures published this week in the Guardian showing that the UK’s 40 largest shopping centres annually consume over £40 million in energy.
At the same time, the British Council for Shopping Centres which represents Westfield, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer among more than 2,500 retailers has launched a campaign to cut carbon emissions in the sector, mindful that 60% of retail premises fall below the E-grade minimum energy rating required by the Energy Act by 2018.
The government plans to cut CO2 emissions by 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The British Retail Consortium says that the sector contributes about 5% of the UK’s GDP and 10% of the jobs so comprehensive and sustainable energy efficiency will play a major role in long-term viability.
And the Carbon Trust estimates that a 20% reduction in energy costs represents about the same as a 5% increase in retail sales.
The impetus for change in energy use is also gathering pace with the Switch the Lights campaign launched by The Grocer magazine.
Currently, 43% of the energy consumed annually by retailers is through lighting. While the campaign suggests savings of 50%, our experience is that LED lighting can deliver savings of up to 85% on energy bills, while cutting carbon emissions by a similar percentage.
The savings through LED lighting go beyond cutting energy costs because a quality LED panel, tube or lamp has a lifespan of ten years or more, with low or zero maintenance.
Looking at the broader sustainability picture, the Crown Estate advises that there should be a focus on outcomes and the broader sustainability impacts of a building, such as how well it serves the wider needs of its local community.
Paul says: “We can have all the technology in place and certificates, but without understanding how a building is performing and how retailers engage their customers we won’t know whether a development is working and what might need to change.”
“Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings therefore is not an option but a commercial necessity; and success will depend as much on a ‘cultural’ shift towards collaboration with tenants as it will on technological solutions.”