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What does the CRC league table mean for the construction industry?

WSP environment and energy consultant James Patterson

While a lot has been said about the methodology used to create the first Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) league table and the fact that allowance payments will no longer be recycled from the worst performers to the best, little attention has been paid to the commercial opportunities the CRC offers to those in the construction and built environment sectors.

For all its perceived flaws, to the layman the CRC table offers a quick and easy way of comparing the energy performance of major companies and public sector organisations.

It could, therefore, be argued that the potential reputational damage associated with being at the bottom of the table is of equal, if not greater, importance to the financial penalties.

Adding to this, a new draft EU Energy Efficiency Directive, published for consultation in June this year, will, if implemented, impose new targets on the energy efficiency of existing buildings, including a requirement for on-going refurbishment of large public buildings to the meet at least the minimum energy performance requirements set in building regulations.

This all means that companies and public bodies are going to be under pressure to assess what they can do to improve the energy performance of their buildings, and this, in turn, will create more opportunities for contractors.

By 2050, approximately 75 per cent of homes and 60 per cent of non-domestic buildings are likely to have been built before 2010.

It is therefore critical that we optimise the energy performance of existing buildings. Those with the expertise required to meet this challenge should be shouting about their credentials in retrofitting commercial and retail property, whilst others should be looking to provide practical guidance on installing technologies and adopting practices which will bring down energy consumption and reduce emissions (with the added benefit of helping clients improve their position in future CRC tables).

Energy efficiency has always made good business sense, but the reputational carrot of the CRC league table might be just the thing to convince companies to take the leap – and that can only be good news for the market.

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