Climate change to cost businesses £335m

Extreme weather caused by climate change could increase electricity bills for UK businesses by £335m a year in by 2030 - with the retail sector hit hardest.

And, retailers and businesses reliant on warehouses are likely to be most vulnerable to prices increases as they will be forced to use significantly more electricity to run their buildings.

However, office-based businesses and buildings which rely on air conditioning for cooling could face paying more than £250m a year, as a result of hotter summers and colder winters.

These are the findings of a new report by independent organisation RICS, which set out to measure the impact of climate change on future energy demand in commercial buildings.

RICS sustainability and special projects director Martin Russell-Croucher warns that many of the UK’s commercial buildings will be unable cope with changes in climate as they are not energy efficient. However, he adds, they will become too expensive to run in their current state.

He said: “It is important that property professionals and businesses understand how they can and should adapt, and maintain their buildings now to ensure they are not only cost efficient but also sustainable for generations to come. Failure to do so can result in electricity costs spiralling out of control.”

As a result, RICS predicts that a commercial property of about 2,500m sq can expect to pay more than £5,000 in electricity costs per year by 2030.

London’s commercial properties are forecast to incur the largest increase in electricity demand with costs expected to rise to an additional £3.20 per square metre, compared to approximately £2.87 per square metre in Newcastle.

Carys Matthews

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