Building Zero - Facing reality

Building Zero - Facing reality 04 April 2022

The cost of improving the UK’s industrial, manufacturing, logistics and warehousing stock – even just in terms of MEES – is gargantuan. While each building is different, we have undertaken analyses of the current built environment and costed implementing the minimum recommendations required.

The estimated total cost for achieving the 2030 MEES requirement for industrial stock comes to £30.5 billion, at an average cost of £334,000 per building.

Improvements to meet higher sustainability requirements typically require more invasive and expensive structural improvements, as well as high-tech additions such as on-site renewable energy generation facilities.

Building proofs

In order to highlight the necessary investment needed, we have modelled three hypothetical buildings with characteristics typical of their particular strata of the industrial real estate landscape.

  • 1960's
  • 1980's
  • 2000's

Through conducting detailed EPC modelling with Arbnco, we are able to provide case study examples of what’s required to improve the industrial stock. All three buildings used the same building archetype as their base:

  • a typical single-storey storage warehouse with a 50,000 sq ft footprint including usual office and WC provisions and a repeating pitched roof.
  • roofing, cladding mechanical and electric characteristics specific to buildings of their built year periods.

Arbnco’s modelling program is able to provide retrofit outcomes for buildings, including the potential impact on the EPC grade, the cost of the upgrade and the time taken to recoup the initial investment through cost savings (the payback period). For the purposes of our analysis, we have included those measures which would be exempt due to the seven-year payback rule. The exemption is expected to be amended in the future as it means a considerable proportion of the built environment will not get up to the level required to achieve the UK’s 2050 net zero carbon target. Including these measures therefore helps to understand what it will take to get the industrial built stock to meet net zero requirements, beyond achieving current MEES regulations.

Understanding the scale

The outcome of the modelling confirms that there is a considerable price tag associated with improving the industrial built environment to comply with the 2030 MEES requirements and none of the case study models met the MEES without additional works. The 1980s and 1960s buildings, under the current legislation, would only achieve an EPC grade C – short of the grade B.

We have also modelled the maximum EPC rating that could be achieved by each property, and the costs that this would entail. With all properties achieving a grade B or above, these maximised measures provide some reassurance that the industrial sector could bring its properties in line with the UK’s net zero target, albeit requiring significant investment. Achieving this mass-retrofitting of the stock would likely need considerable financial support from the government, as well as legislative requirements to do so.

All three detailed models form part of our Building Zero report which is available here for you to view the full analysis and supporting insights.

What should you do next?

Contact us to discuss how we can guide you through the industrial green revolution.

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