On-Site Energy Generation ‘Not Cost-Effective’

A new report questions whether small-scale renewable energy generators for office buildings make economic sense.The report about on-site renewables was prepared by Sturgis Carbon Profiling for the British Council for Offices (BCO). The research assessed 77 central London commercial office developments.

The report claims that reducing carbon emissions through on-site renewables is not cost effective compared to alternative larger scale installations, according to Architects Journal magazine.

In addition, the report questions whether high taxpayer subsidies are really justified for such poorly performing micro generation for commercial buildings and suggests a better approach would include more detail when calculating the costs and benefits of on-site renewables, including whether the building is new or being refurbished.

Sturgis Carbon Profiling draws the conclusion that contradictions in government policy are resulting in developers paying much more for on-site renewables than necessary and that they could achieve the same carbon and cost savings through cheaper options, especially via large-scale renewable installations, such as combined heat and power plants. Sturgis also recommends more flexible policies that combine on-site renewables with the ability of developers to purchase carbon allowances to help meet their energy saving goals, according to FM World.

A recent report by Verdantix found that in 2012, 59 percent of firms in developed economies are investing in on-site renewables, compared to 55 percent of firms in emerging economies.

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