Sustainability of Scottish Building Assets

The Scottish Government has established an objective to reach Net Zero emissions by 2045, with an interim 75% reduction by 2030. This commitment has highlighted the increasing importance of seeking to improve the sustainability and reduce the carbon impact of properties under management by Graham + Sibbald.

Graham Downes, Associate and part of the Asset Services department at Graham + Sibbald, has been specifically looking at how this can be achieved, incorporating guidance from Better Building Partnership (BBP), RICS and Graham + Sibbald’s own in-house Carbon + Sustainability department.

As a starting point, Graham has been looking at introducing the following measures at Service Charge properties;

  • Generating Asset Registers to monitor the age and performance of all site equipment such as Boilers and HVAC units
  • Recording utilities information to form baseline usage and demonstrate reductions as a result of measures implemented
  • Waste reduction efforts by increasing tenant awareness of the costs and overall benefits of reducing site waste
  • Increased recycling where possible to reduce costs and help accelerate properties towards Net Zero goals
  • Undertake Energy Audits to appraise sites current performance and identify where improvements can be made

To assist the Owners with their push towards a greener, more sustainable asset, the Co-Owners of Loch Lomond Shores appointed the Graham + Sibbald Carbon + Sustainability team to produce an Environmental Assessment. The report evaluated the current resource efficiency and carbon output from the buildings and common areas and identified measures for improvement.

The main focus of the Assessment centred around the need to reduce the Carbon Footprint and increase the ‘green tourism’ appeal but also included forecasts for Capital Investment required and potential savings should suggested measures be adopted, such as:

  • Improved insulation to retain heat and reduce the energy requirement
  • Upgrade lighting/heating equipment and introduce control measures to reduce energy output
  • Possible renewable energy opportunities such as solar panels

As the site is a national visitor attraction the importance of the environment is paramount to the owners of the property. In conjunction with the Environmental Impact Assessment, an Ecological Impact Assessment was undertaken to appraise the habitats, tree stock, notable species and to identify opportunities for biodiversity enhancement.

The increased legislation targeting improved sustainability will have major implications in the management of every type of property. Consideration must be given to the cost involved in heating/lighting buildings with ever increasing utility costs and ways to offset this by introducing new controls, green tariff contracts and alternative heating options to replace traditional gas boilers where possible.

Graham + Sibbald’s Carbon + Sustainability department were also commissioned to provide an initial Assessment of a traditional 5 storey, sandstone office building in the centre of Glasgow which is under management by the Graham + Sibbald Asset Service department. The Assessment identified a number of opportunities to improve the performance of the property which included;

  • Improved insulation to reduce heat loss and increase thermal efficiency
  • Replace the existing heating system with a modern alternative
  • Examine the possibility of introducing solar panels

The report provides a payback period of investment in new electrical/heating equipment and detailed risk vs. benefit analysis. The assessment and report generated together, with the approaches suggested by the BBP Toolkit/RICS, will allow Property Managers to effectively discuss possible upgrades with clients and tenants while being able to budget.

Graham Downes commented, “The move towards more environmentally friendly properties has a positive impact on building users and operators while in turn making buildings more attractive to prospective tenants. More and more people are looking for carbon conscious premises, particularly within City Centre locations to benefit their businesses and clients. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Given the current climate crisis economic crisis, Graham + Sibbald are committed to doing our part both for the environment and for our clients to minimise costs and maximise returns wherever possible. We’re price driven + people driven.