Speeding up the “thermal refurbishment” of inefficient non-domestic buildings could also create up to 50,000 new “green collar” jobs and save organisations around £450 million in energy bills, according to a report by consultancy Caleb Management Services.

The report says: “In order to help meet government’s carbon reduction targets, the UK as a whole must address its inefficient non-domestic building stock.

“The scale of the challenge, to refurbish up to 2 million existing non-domestic buildings and achieve at least an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050, is somewhat daunting, and clearly cannot be done by a business as usual approach.”

Caleb, commissioned to draft the report by manufacturer Kingspan Insulated Panels, says existing non-domestic building stock shows “poor energy performance”.

They emit more than 100 million tons of CO2 per year – some 18 per cent of total UK emissions.

It declares energy efficient buildings “need to be at the frontline of emission reduction efforts”.

It advocates an “accelerated thermal refurbishment programme” as part of a Green New Deal to stimulate the economy.

The insulation programme would see existing non-domestic buildings upgraded to a minimum Display Energy Certificate/Energy Performance Certificate rating of C between 2010 and 2022.

Caleb estimates presently some 80% of existing buildings are rated below C.

It urges the government to provide upfront zero or low interest loans as an incentive to do the work, to be paid back from future savings.

The work could be done at a cost of £1.18 billion per year, it calculates, or £14.7 billion in total by 2022 resulting in related saving of some £5.65 billion per year.

The programme would generate between 30,000 and 50,000 long term jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 23Mt a year and save around £450 million a year in energy bills, it estimates.

“Now is the time to accelerate the refurbishment of non-domestic buildings,” the report says.

It adds: “The climate, energy security and employment benefits of accelerated refurbishment are significant and increasingly important for the country as a whole.”

The Non-domestic Buildings Refurbishment Report was launched last week at a parliamentary reception addressed by Energy and Climate Change secretary Ed Miliband.

Louis Eperjesi, Kingspan managing director, said the firm hopes “the government follows this lead in promoting measures which would help secure a triple-benefit of more jobs, fewer carbon emissions and lower energy bills for hard-pressed businesses”.

To read the report in full visit the weblink.

David Gibbs

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