Government-approved technical standards provided the foundation for the Green Homes Grant. Now, similar energy-efficiency standards are being developed that should pave the way for the low-carbon retrofit of commercial buildings.

Stuart Fairlie, Technical and Operations Director, Elmhurst Energy (1)

Stuart Fairlie

The only trouble is that the first draft of these standards seems to exclude most of the qualified, experienced and quality-assured people with the ability to deliver them.

The official consultation on proposed new technical standards for retrofitting the UK’s non-domestic buildings for improved energy efficiency has received howls of protest from professional energy assessors.

PAS 2038 has been sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and sets out the requirements for the assessment of commercial buildings for retrofit, as well as measures that improve energy performance, including insulation, ventilation, heating, lighting and other essential areas.

However, the current draft excludes non-domestic energy assessors (NDEAs) and other qualified professionals from its list of competent people who could implement the specification.

Building inspection

Source: Shutterstock/ wavebreakmedia

This makes no sense, especially when an additional course can quickly upskill NDEAs with PAS 2038-specific knowledge, guaranteeing much-needed human resources and quality-assured expertise.

These proposals could be an own goal for BEIS when it is trying so hard to build up a stronger market for low-energy retrofits. There are more than 1,000 qualified and accredited assessors in our membership who are specialists in the commercial sector. They should be the first port of call for designing, promoting and delivering the energy-efficiency scheme.

If excluded from this market, many opportunities and vital ‘green jobs’ could be lost. But if engaged, these individuals will be excellent ambassadors for the scheme and can rise immediately to the challenge of decarbonising our commercial property stock.

Stuart Fairlie is technical and operations director at Elmhurst Energy