The latest King Sturge report on property sustainability raises questions over the cost of the green agenda, its impact on development and the need for European harmonisation of the tools measuring sustainability.
In the 2009 edition of its European Property Sustainability Matters report, King Sturge highlights the key issues facing the implementation of the green agenda in the property industry, the benchmarks and new legal requirements.
Whilst climate change is a priority in the medium to long term, it is energy security that has become a very real issue for many European countries in the short term; securing the energy required to operate production facilities and buildings, to transport goods and not least to keep households warm in winter is becoming increasingly difficult. The recent example of gas supplies from Russia is a good illustration.
King Sturge also expects that the high cost of meeting low emission targets will have an impact on property development and urban regeneration in particular. To create a zero-carbon home could increase costs by 25 to 42%. Not only will this slow development in the short term but it is also likely to have an impact on property values in the medium term. Rents and capital values will have to rise to pay for these extra costs.
However King Sturge urges governments not to soften energy emission targets. There are now an increasing number of tools assessing the environmental impact of a building but these vary greatly country by country. Meanwhile the European Union is still working to lay down a common methodology for the measurement of energy performance requirements - including all retro-fits and improvements - and member states are required to have national plans in place by 2011.
But it's unlikely we will see many 'green' or 'eco' towns being built in the next few years. In the UK the cost of achieving zero carbon emissions under the Code for Sustainable Homes could raise construction costs, as mentioned, by up to 42%. At a time when capital and land values are falling this is particularly difficult to achieve.
This report provides a comprehensive review of UK and European legislation as well as an update on the implementation of the Energy Performance Building Directive 2008 across the Union.
To download your copy go to www.kingsturge.com/european-property-sustainability-matters.
Source: King Sturge