King Sturge is calling on UK engineering and contracting firms to consider underwriting major green projects to help kick-start sustainable developments.
The scheme is already operating in the US to good effect by encouraging commercial building owners to install retro-fit projects such as more efficient lighting, water conservation, upgrading heating and air conditioning equipment and renewable energy technologies.
Tim Harris, Project Management Partner at King Sturge in Bristol, said the premise of the US guarantee scheme was that engineers and contractors conducted an initial study of a building then outlined appropriate energy efficiency measures and any expected cost savings.
"These companies will do the initial analysis, complete the work and guarantee the savings over a fixed period of time," he said.
"Then, if there are any shortfalls in annual energy savings, the engineers or contractors pick up the bill."
He added: "In the US it’s proving to be a win-win situation because the engineers and contractors are being appointed for lots of new projects and the building owners are keeping to their green commitments – and at the same time saving cash – safe in the knowledge that their bottom line won’t be affected."
Although this initiative would not include variances in energy costs Lucinda Tippetts, Asset Manager Partner at King Sturge Bristol, said they had a solution that was already working for King Sturge clients in tying down the costs.
He said: "We have achieved costs savings of over £8million in one year on the wholesale market by packaging up clients properties with half hourly supplies in to a three-year contract with the added bonus that the supply is green."
Both Lucinda and Tim believe this new initiative will achieve its goals and are already in discussions with a number of engineers and contractors to test the UK market.
The UK Government has committed itself to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, and commercial properties have been identified as one of the nation’s major polluters.
"Until recently sustainability was the No1 hot topic in the UK commercial property sector," said Mr Harris. "But clearly the global recession has re-focused people’s minds and priorities to their bottom line – meaning ‘green’ concerns are starting to take a back seat.
"However, just because we’re in an economic downturn it doesn’t mean the green agenda is going to disappear – far from it – and in 2010 it’s likely to be more of an issue than ever.
"The introduction of measures such as Energy Performance Certificates and BREEAM ratings underline the point that sustainability is here to stay. I would urge UK engineers and contractors to study the US scheme and look to adopt something similar in this country."
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