Report: 69% find it challenging to speak to landlords about renewable energy

A survey by edie, in association with Big Clean Switch and The Climate Group's RE100 initiative, has found that four out of five businesses in rented properties are struggling to switch to clean energy.

Report: 69% find it challenging to speak to landlords about renewable energy

The survey, which includes some of the UK’s biggest tenants, investigates landlords’ relationships with tenants on sourcing and switching to renewable energy – and the various challenges that arise, including communications between the two groups on the issue.


The report’s findings include that a third of commercial occupiers responding to the survey hadn’t approached landlords about switching to renewable energy and more than two-thirds (69%) said it was challenging to know who to speak to within landlord organisations about energy contracts.

Three concluding recommendations were developed out of the findings, including that tenants should be more pro-active in communicating their needs to landlords; that landlords should put processes in place for occupiers to be able to take action on energy contracts; and that education was required to overcome misconceptions about both the cost and demand for clean, renewable energy.

Titled ‘Going 100%: How landlords hold the key to corporate renewable energy targets’, the survey was taken in May this year by some of the biggest tenants in the country, including PwC, Nando’s, Burberry as well as by landlords such as LandSec. It provided a comprehensive overview of some of the largest tenants and landlords in the UK with 59% of respondents employing more than 1,000 people, 30% operating more than 100 sites across the UK, and just under half (43%) consuming more than 1GWh of electricity a year.

The news comes as many companies, including the majority of respondents to the survey, commit to sourcing renewable energy – often with a 100% target –  but 83% of renting sites found it challenging to switch to a renewable energy provider. Additionally, 80% find the installation of on-site renewable energy systems, sub-metering and gaining access to energy data challenging.

Encouragingly, there is a strong desire for both groups to shift the situation with 60% of respondents willing to commit to a movement to encourage and inspire more landlords and managing agents to switch to renewable energy. Supporters of the movement including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, whose managing director, Matt Howell, said “collaboration was key to overcoming barriers” on the issue. Another supporter, head of buildings and technical services at PWC, Jon Barnes, said he was “confident” that 100% renewable energy would be achieved by landlords, and the question was more how quickly it would happen.

Speaking about the launch of the report, managing director at Big Clean Switch, Jon Fletcher, said: “Only a quarter of the businesses we spoke to currently source 100% of their electricity from renewables. Whether businesses are trying to switch to a renewable tariff, or install on-site generation, sub-metering or EV charging facilities, poor engagement with landlords is acting as a brake on progress.

“And, with over half of the UK’s commercial real estate made up of leased property, this lack of engagement has real potential to impact on the UK’s ability to meet its carbon targets.”

James Evison

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    It seems to be assumed that by the term "energy", referral is just to electricity.

    The sources of this electricity are principally wind and solar. During evenings and night-time, solar may be discounted, leaving principally wind.

    Is it known, at the moment, if the total demand of all the suppliers selling their product under the banner of "renewable", can have their total demand either at the time of demand, or in total watt/hours, met by the available supply.

    I would be greatly surprised, indeed I regard the first scenario as quite impossible, bearing in mind that metered wind generation (70% of total wind), can fall from its design capacity of about 20GW, to much less than 1GW for many tens of hours. It is on the record.

    I would be interested if anyone could show that, even considering generation over the year, that generation could cover even the present renewable demand of its’ advertisers.

    There is a great deal of difference between paying for "renewable" power, and actually getting it!

    Richard Phillips

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