Scotland businesses face uphill battle to decarbonise real estate portfolio in drive for low carbon economy 

01/09/2023

INVESTMENT in the sustainability of Scotland’s real estate stock needs to significantly ramp up as focus turns to a low carbon economy, according to new research from property services firm JLL.

The Envision Sustainability report, which sets out a plan for a low carbon real estate market for the UK, shows that just 27% of Edinburgh’s EPC certifications lodged for its office market achieved the highest A and  B standards, with Glasgow slightly higher at 30% The equivalent figure for Edinburgh’s housing stock was just 16%, while only 13% of residential developments in Glasgow are EPC A.

Other sectors across the industry fared similarly. For general industrial space, EPC A and B certifications is at 27% in Edinburgh and just 10% for Glasgow. Scotland also performed poorly in the retail sector, with 7% of buildings achieving EPC A in Glasgow and 9% in Edinburgh.

The research shows the challenges the industry faces to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions -with more stringent regulatory framework being investigated for both Scottish domestic and non-domestic property.  JLL’s analysis of EPC data across the UK illustrates the shortfall between awareness and action, with more than two-thirds of EPCs registered in the last year not meeting proposed future standards.

Cameron Stott, Head of Scotland at JLL, said: “The real estate sector has a significant role to play in the solution to reduce carbon emissions and avert the impacts of the climate crisis, and, as the data clearly shows, significant action has yet to be taken. However, the focus on delivering net zero is gathering pace across the nation as an increasing number of investors and corporations set targets to reduce their emissions, against a background of (slowly) evolving legislation to enforce decarbonisation of the built sector by 2050.

“Encouragingly, with the number of refurbishments taking place across office and residential stock in both Glasgow and Edinburgh increasing year on year, momentum to deliver sustainable accommodation does seem to be gathering pace.”

Emma Hoskyn, UK head of sustainability at JLL, said: “There’s no easy fix to create a more sustainable property sector, and our research shows that there’s a gap between knowledge and action.

“But challenges also bring opportunities. We know that sustainable real estate can be crucial to business success. Evidence suggests sustainable assets protect value – and in some cases enhance it – let more quickly and attract higher value tenants. Investors that act now should reap the benefits, while those that delay are likely to experience a reduction in value and tenant appeal for their assets over time.” 

You can read the full report here.

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