Upgrading all non-domestic buildings to level C of the government’s Energy Performance Certificate rating between 2010 and 2022 could create or safeguard 75,000 jobs, cut £40 billion off energy bills and save 4.74 million tonnes in CO2 emissions, according to insulation industry-commissioned research.

Andrew Warren, director of the UK Association for the Conservation of Energy, an energy industry conservation body, said: “Tackling climate change starts with energy efficiency. Reducing energy demand is the quickest and most cost- effective way of addressing carbon emissions, with existing buildings offering the biggest wins.

“We cannot afford to ignore the potential offered by refurbishing existing non-domestic buildings. This report rightly highlights the massive employment, fuel cost and carbon saving benefits which would flow from a co-ordinated programme of refurbishment.

“A recession brings into stark relief the need for businesses to reduce their costs and safeguard jobs. The government can do no better than supporting refurbishment through ensuring there is up-front finance available for hard-pressed businesses.”

Manufacturer Kingspan Insulated Panels made the submission calling for loans for businesses wanting to refurbish existing non-domestic buildings to the treasury ahead of next Wednesday’s budget.

The submission draws on the Non-Domestic Buildings Refurbishment Report commissioned from consultancy Caleb Management Services and published in February, which estimated some 80% of existing buildings are rated below C.

It points out existing non-domestic buildings account for 20% of the UK’s total carbon emissions – more than 100 million tonnes a year.

More than 40% of these buildings standing in 2050 will have been built before basic energy efficiency standards were introduced in the 1970s, it adds.

Insulating more buildings more quickly would not only save money and jobs but also reduce demand for fuel, the company says.

It calculates businesses and the public sector would need to invest some £1.96bn per year between 2010 and 2022 or 7% extra on the current annual £27 billion to refurbish all existing non-domestic buildings to EPC level C.

Kingspan is calling on the government to help fund the extra cost through loans.

Dr Alan Whitehead MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group, said: “We all know that insulating buildings is about the best and most cost effective way to save energy and emissions.

“A coordinated programme of commercial and industrial insulation to run alongside the efforts that are being made on domestic insulation would really make progress on the changes we need.”

To read the Non-domestic Buildings Refurbishment Report on which the latest submission draws visit the weblink.

David Gibbs

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