Q&A with Mark O’Neill, Head of DM Hall’s Energy Department

We caught up with Mark O’Neill to ask him about the new Energy department at DM Hall. Read Mark’s responses below.

Q: Tell us about this new Energy department at DM Hall
A: As well as continuing to undertake energy assessments for commercial property, our new Energy Department will provide a consultancy service to SMEs, exploring the opportunities available to clients by which they can improve their energy efficiency of their properties and reap the benefits of reduced energy bills and assist in making those necessary improvements.

Q: Why is DM Hall establishing an Energy Department
A: Corporate organisations have been getting on board with the energy message, reducing their energy costs and being seen to be green for some time. At DM Hall we recognise it is more difficult for SMEs to do the same. The operators of many such enterprises are just too busy running their businesses in these challenging economic times. Business owners often struggle to find the time to gain sufficient understanding to consider the options and make informed decisions, or lack the funds or resources to start tackling the issue of energy efficiency.

Q: What is the aim of the Energy Department?
A: Our new dedicated Energy Department is aimed at providing knowledgeable, impartial and independent advice and guidance to SMEs, landlords and property occupiers. We can help reduce energy consumption and energy costs. By having a more energy efficient property it will also be more attractive to market.

Q: So what services are you providing to Scottish businesses?
A: DM Hall already has a successful track record in offering non domestic energy assessments and we will continue to offer these across Scotland.

We will take the information contained in energy assessments, such as EPCs and advise on what can be done to achieve cost savings through improving energy efficiency. We will manage the change process as well with our panel of approved installers who can carry out identified and agreed work.

Q: What advice would you give to Scottish businesses and property owners about the importance of having an energy efficient property
A: The first bit of advice is to not ignore the opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of your property. Many of the areas of improvement can be done so easily and with very little cost. Equally many improvements can be incorporated into planned refurbishment or form part of a new tenant’s fit out.

Q: There has been a recent increase legislation in Scotland on energy. Are you expecting any more in the near future that could affect businesses?
A: The simple answer is yes! The introduction of Section 63 Assessments imposed the requirement to undertake actual energy efficiency improvements on the owners of certain properties, through Energy Action Plans. I can see the scope of this legislation being widened, meaning more properties will be subject to Energy Action Plans. This won’t go away and it may be far more palatable to look into energy efficiency now, rather than having it imposed and subject to a statutory timetable.

With energy costs likely to rise and cost of improvements falling, now is the time to come and speak to us and see what you can change for the better. We are clear that we can help drive occupier energy costs down. Similarly, we are alive to the need of landlords to attract tenants and know that energy costs can be a serious factor in make a property more attractive on the market.

Scottish Government has pinned their ambitions to the mast on curbing carbon emissions and there is nothing to suggest a change of direction. Recently, they published a plan that includes proposals to achieve near zero carbon emissions by 2032 within non-domestic buildings, and there is a clear expectation that business will be required to play its part in achieving this target.

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