The property industry will tell MPs that there is not enough guidance on how to ‘green’ existing buildings to reduce the environmental impact and rising concerns about bearing the potential costs in a property downturn.

At the first parliamentary inquiry into the issue by the All Party Urban Development group today, chaired by Clive Betts MP, industry leaders are expected to say there is a lack of information on how the property sector will bear the cost of paying to improve the ecological credentials of existing buildings in the current downturn.

Need confidence

‘In a nutshell, investors need confidence that tackling the environmental performance of existing assets will lead to safeguarded or improved returns,’ said Jon Lovell, head of sustainability at Drivers Jones.

‘That relies on occupier demand, a coherent fiscal and policy framework and much more coherent information against which the performance of stock can be understood and compared.’

Radical and rapid action

‘Significant and wide-ranging changes to our business practices will be required if the UK is to meet its carbon reduction targets,' added Hilary Reid Evans, head of sustainability initiatives at Quintain Estates.

‘Undoubtedly, our approach to the existing building stock, including commercial buildings, demands radical and rapid action.There are currently however few incentives for landlords and tenants to meet this urgent need.’

Commercial property contributes to around a fifth of the country’s carbon emissions.

The group’s final report will be released in July.