Are Energy Performance Certificates a meaningful tool for understanding fossil fuel related stranded assets in the built environment: an experimental analysis of energy performance labelling in England

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the idea that international climate change policy – as it relates to fossil fuel dependency, could induce the stranding of some conventional property assets in the global real estate market. The chapter presents an original experimental method for revealing fossil fuel related stranded assets in the built environment, based on a novel adaptation of existing data associated with Environmental Performance Certificates and associated fossil fuel use baseline datasets in England. Current international environmental adaptation efforts, and associated lending, is typically based upon a given properties estimate of energy performance – in England the Energy Performance Certificate. Energy labelling is often taken as a proxy for fossil fuel exposure, with those buildings with the best energy efficiency ratings assumed to have little or no fossil fuel exposure in terms of fossil fuel consumption. The experimental research in this paper, based on a case study investigation in Newcastle upon-Tyne, uncovers fossil fuel exposure throughout the building energy labelling criteria, not just those with worst ratings. These findings indicate for the first time that most of the commercial building stock in England remains exposed to fossil fuels – potentially undermining environmental improvement and exacerbating geo-political risk. The global implications of this situation are varied: policy efforts to break fossil fuel dependency and sustainable retrofit may be misunderstood and therefore misdirected, environmental divestment efforts may be wasted, and the production of green urban environments may be miscast to their users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Communities Through Digital Transformation in Built Environment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Jan 2024

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