Mayor of London Calls for Energy Efficiency Building Upgrades

THE Mayor of London has called on the City’s businesses and big landlords both private, public, commercial and residential to help deliver London’s biggest ever energy efficiency retrofitting programme.

Retrofitting business premises with energy saving measures will not only save up to a billion pounds a year in wasted energy costs but could significantly help towards eradicating youth unemployment, Mayor Boris Johnson has told London's top firms.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) London Annual Dinner, the Mayor laid out the economic and environmental opportunities for private sector businesses if they commit to retrofitting their premises and invest in retrofitting goods and services.

The Mayor cited how Germany's nationwide state-funded programme has significantly reduced energy bills whilst stimulating 'green collar' jobs and training for young unemployed people on a massive scale across the country. Former US President Bill Clinton has also advocated the adoption of a similar scheme in the US, where he claims that retrofitting 40 percent of the nation’s building stock would provide 600,000 jobs by 2020.

In London, 133,000 16 to 24 year olds are not working, training or studying and 75,000 young people are actively seeking work (excluding full-time students). If every eligible home in the capital took up the Government's Green Deal* retrofit offer the extra demand would make a real impact and create tens of thousands of new  jobs to the sector. Based on this the Mayor believes that if every one of London's businesses and public organisations followed suit in proactively retrofitting their premises it could significantly impact upon youth unemployment altogether in the City.

Johnson, said: "There is a massive economic prize coming from retrofitting activity, not least in terms of the solid investment opportunity it represents for private businesses. We need them to recognise that this is in their best interests because of the energy savings that will derive and it is a massive potential generator of employment for young people. In the same way tens of thousands were employed by our hunger for fossil fuels, so in the 21st century, we need the private sector to invest in green growth."

"Young people are one of this City's best assets, but youth unemployment is unacceptably high. Retrofitting to create a low carbon economy is a clear way the capital's businesses can play their part towards eradicating it. This is a win win for businesses."

The Mayor is already working to stimulate retrofitting on an unprecedented scale across the capital through programmes seed funded by public money and which are now set for rapid expansion using private and European financing. With 80 percent of London's carbon emissions coming from buildings and with city and national target demanding tough reductions in carbon output, retrofitting buildings at scale is a vital part of meeting these commitments.

The Mayor has diverted public money into the London Green Fund which is leveraging in hundreds of millions in private sector money to provide cheap loans for public organisations enabling them to access upfront money for retrofitting. The 42 City buildings that trialled RE:FIT saw savings of up to 40 percent in energy usage and collectively are saving the City one million pounds a year off energy bills.

The estimated likely economic value for London by 2025 coming from low carbon goods and services equates to £40 billion of investment into the capital, which could create 200,000 jobs. As London’s buildings account for nearly 80 percent of carbon emissions, the biggest low carbon economic opportunity for businesses stems from activity to make them energy efficient.

Building retrofitting (fitting older buildings with energy efficiency devices) accounts for 41 percent of the overall investment the City requires to achieve the Mayor’s 60 percent carbon cut by 2025. Investment in retrofitting could deliver up to 80 percent of the 14,000 low carbon jobs that could be created per year and two thirds of the £721 million of low carbon economic activity per year up until 2025.

London’s carbon emissions equates to 35 million tonnes of carbon every year. That figure needs to reduce to 13 million tonnes by 2025, if London is to meet its target of cutting 60 percent of carbon by 2025. 70 percent of London’s existing buildings will still be in place by 2050, so retrofitting existing building stock to make these savings is vital.

Picture of Boris Johnson by EG Focus reproduced under CCL.

Wednesday 19th October 2011


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