Property’s part in a Green Industrial Revolution

8 July, 2021

This year, the UK is set to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021. This is being hailed by The Guardian as “the most important global meeting ever to take place on UK soil” and, in preparation, the Government launched their ambitious “Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution”.

How does this play out in world of real estate? What are the main points that we in the property industry need to take note of in the next few years?

Totally electric

First off, electric vehicles. The target is to transform our national infrastructure and make driving an electric car as easy and attractive as possible. The Government plans to spend £1.3billion on charge points for electric vehicles helping us plug in to a fuel free future.

This will spill over into the property industry as property owners with any kind of car parking areas, spaces or roadways within their portfolios start thinking seriously about installing charge points or applying for grants to do so. This will not only to make property offerings more appealing to occupiers, customers and employees but also achieve the coveted “green lease” status.

Green public buildings

The Government has pledged to make public sector buildings greener. Could this set a new base standard for commercial property? The scientists certainly hope so.

The plan is to green all parts of society and this is something that is sorely needed, particularly in the retrofitting of Britain’s old building stock.

We could start to see green initiatives feature more heavily in multi-let buildings and perhaps even landlord works plans introducing solar panels, heat pumps and mini turbines. Green investment and finance is growing to incentivize this to happen as explored in The Retrofit Revolution report from Volans and Bakers for Net Zero.

Recent research from Savills also suggests that significant demand for green leases is emerging from occupiers. This demand is expected to rise as sustainability incentives and initiatives become more present in all our lives.

Funding the transition

The Treasury has announced the launch of a Green Gilt and a Green Savings Bond through NS&I which earmarks funds to help the UK build back greener. Efforts in this area will contribute significantly towards the achievement of the remainder of the Ten Point Plan. Funds will go towards  for wind farms, improvements to public transport and public buildings and the transition to electric vehicles, all of which are likely to affect property portfolios and our built environment in general.

The FT reported last week that whilst ‘the N&I green savings bond will let savers put their money where their mouth is and support sustainable projects’, the success of the bonds will largely be down to the interest rate .

New ideals

The Government states they are committed to joining forces with civil society, companies and people in order to inspire action.

The fact remains that these initiatives are set to become more visible and present in all our lives, and that we all have the opportunity and choice to be part of the change to a zero carbon economy.