#SustyTalk: Clearbell’s Rob West on accelerating the retrofit revolution

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#SustyTalk is all about keeping edie’s loyal readers connected to sustainability leaders across the world, whilst reminding us all that sustainability and climate action must go on through the current Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. It launched in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 and has continued since then, keeping us connected to the leaders who are continuing to drive sustainability and climate action.

For this latest #SustyTalk episode, edie’s senior reporter Sarah George is in conversation with Rob West, co-founder and managing partner at Clearbell LLP.

Founded in the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, Clearbell is a private equity and fund management business specialising in retrofitting buildings across the UK. Projects in its portfolio include Harbour Exchange in London’s Canary Wharf and the Octagon Retail Park in Stoke-on-Trent.

West is on hand to debate about the extent to which growing demand for green buildings enables them to fetch a ‘greenium’ – higher sale and/or rental prices.

He also weighs in on what the Government could be doing to make retrofit more of an investable proposition and to close the cap between ambition and action on its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) targets.

West says: “One thing developers are good at is finding the easiest way of doing things; knocking something down and rebuilding in its place, in the sense that it’s much more predictable, so you can price it more effectively. There’s less risk, effectively, in pricing new build compared to retrofit.

“There’s always been a preference to build new rather than retrofit. But I think, quite rightly, that a lot of local authorities and central government pressure, is encouraging people to retrofit much more because of the embodied carbon benefits of doing so.”

Click here to see our catalogue of #SustyTalk interviews

Want to be featured on a future episode of #SustyTalk? Email newsdesk@fav-house.com. Please bear in mind that our interview calendar is typically booked several weeks in advance. 

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