Articles - Climate change to cost business up to £355m extra a year

 The annual electricity bill for the business sector could rise by hundreds of millions of pounds by 2030 as a result of climate change, warns RICS.

 The RICS research report reveals that by 2030, it could cost up to £355m extra a year in electricity to run the UK's warehouses. The retail sector and office-based businesses could be paying more than £250m with buildings relying on air conditioning for cooling being more vulnerable to price increases.

 It is forecasted that hotter summers and more extreme weather will force occupiers across the country to use significantly more electricity to run their buildings - with businesses using warehouses and the retail sector being the hit the hardest.

 The RICS research undertaken by Sturgis Carbon profiling was commissioned to measure the impact of climate change on future energy demand in commercial buildings.

 It shows that the average commercial property is ill-equipped to cope with the change in climate - with summer temperatures throughout most of the UK predicted to be up to two degrees higher by 2030 and up to two degrees cooler in the winter.

 By 2030 a commercial property of around 2,500 square metres in London can expect to pay more than £5,000 per year in electricity alone - having a significant impact on the environment and in business spend and investment.

 The report highlights that it is London's commercial properties that will incur the largest increase in electricity demand with the subsequent cost expected to rise to an additional £3.20 per square metre, compared to approximately £2.87 per square metre in Newcastle.

 The report also reveals that some of Britain's business buildings could become obsolete by 2030 as the cost of refurbishing current buildings to cope with the impact of climate change may run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

 Martin Russell-Croucher, RICS Director of Sustainability and Special Projects, commented:

 "Many of Britain's current commercial buildings as they are, are just not energy efficient and suitably equipped to cope with the future predicted changes in climate. Many existing properties may become too pricy to run and unsuitable to provide employees with the right conditions to work.

 "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 spiraling out of control."

 An analysis of the current energy consumption of more than 60,000 non-domestic buildings across the country revealed that a building's function, design and technology and external temperature and climate volatility all play an essential role in driving electricity demand and use.

 Alongside the expected temperature increases - it is the volatility between more extreme cold and warm weather that will have the greatest impact on electricity demand as more power is used to maintain a ‘comfortable environment' for employees, school pupils and hospital patients.

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