“New energy rules could make 75% of Belfast offices unusable by 2030”

Consultants have warned that 75% of Belfast’s office space could be rendered obsolete by 2030 due to impending Energy Performance Certificate legislation

Big Zero Report 2023

Up to 75% of Belfast‘s office space may become obsolete by 2030 due to forthcoming Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) legislation.

Brian Lavery, Managing Director of CBRE NI, emphasised that impending regulations, already enforced in England and Wales, will soon apply in Northern Ireland.

As of April 2023, the minimum EPC rating for commercial buildings in England and Wales was raised to ‘E’.

It is anticipated that the next change in EPC legislation, scheduled for 2025, will further increase the minimum rating to ‘B’ by 2030.

Mr Lavery pointed out that only 25% of Belfast’s large office buildings currently meet the ‘A’ or ‘B’ EPC rating, presenting property owners and investors with a crucial decision to either invest significantly in upgrades or consider alternative uses for these buildings.

Brian Lavery said: “A seismic shift is looming over Belfast’s commercial real estate sector, as new EPC regulations, prevalent in Great Britain, will require significant upgrading or repurposing of Belfast office stock.

“With regulatory change inevitable, it is imperative that landlords of older commercial stock act now to implement ESG strategies or risk being left with properties that are unlettable or difficult to market successfully.”

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