Our client Brookfield Green recently featured in an interesting piece in The Sunday Times on commercial retrofitting and the potential for growth in this relatively unheralded market.
To quote the article: "Retrofitting is poised to become big business. About 90% of Britain’s offices are more than 10 years old and account for nearly a fifth of our carbon emissions, according to research by the Carbon Trust. Cutting carbon emissions from offices by a third by 2020 would save businesses an estimated £4 billion.”
Much of the press on retrofitting focuses on the technical aspects of such projects from a construction perspective. Insulation, glazing, and heating technology are often cited.
But from discussions with our clients and others in this field there is a similarly pressing issue, which is yet to be properly addressed, and that is communicating with the users of buildings with green technology.
To achieve the returns that a sustainable retrofit promises, in fact to achieve those targets set out as part of the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme, you have to ensure that your tenants understand the tech and how to use it.
To put it simply, how many times have you been baffled by the thermostat in a room and cranked it up purely on the basis of not knowing what else to do?
Communication of sustainable technology – or “green bling” as many of our clients now refer to it (!) – will dictate the success of retrofitting projects. To this end, a landlord or tenant representative has to engage with an office user to really gain the long term benefits that such work promises.
Digital media presents all kinds of opportunities to do so – using QR codes on thermostats for example – but you have to motivate people to press home the advantage.
Motivation usually stems from understanding and there is much work to be done. Developing proper understanding of sustainable technology in the workplace is just one of the starting points and will require hard work.