As they celebrate their 15-year company milestone, CSR Sustain’s Managing Director Gary Cleary, and Director Luke Cleary, look back on two decades of changing energy legislation and policies – and reveal what’s next for the company and the future of energy compliance.
After Part L SBEM and SAP calculations were introduced for new builds in the UK in 2006, to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions aligned with the EU, the direction that energy performance reporting was headed became clear. Gary saw the demand for surveys in the commercial property sector, and established CSR Sustain in February 2008.
“I’ve seen a lot of energy policies and initiatives come and go over the last 15 years”, Gary said. “But I think it’s a testament to our team’s experience and expertise in energy compliance legislation that we’re still going strong today.”
“Guided by the dedication of our in-house team, Craig Kefford, our Senior Energy Assessor, and Michelle Booth, our Office Manager, have been integral to CSR Sustain since its inception.” Gary noted. “Together, along with our network of associates spanning the UK, including Scotland and Wales, ensuring comprehensive and steadfast support for our clients’ energy compliance needs.”
By April 2008, Gary’s team of specialist construction and engineering experts had completed their NDEA qualifications – just in time to see Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) become mandatory in the UK for the first time, introduced as part of the implementation of the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
Over the next nine months, the team saw Display Energy Certificates (DECs) become mandatory in England and Wales for public buildings, and TM44s first became mandatory in the UK for air conditioning systems – which led to CSR Sustain benchmarking the operational performance of hundreds of private and public sector buildings, continuing to this day.
Between January 2009 and 2011, CSR Sustain completed high-profile projects including carrying out the non-domestic EPCs of all Transport for London (TFL) offices and regional centres across 100,000m2 of central London, plus the initial pilots with 17 of the 33 London Borough Councils as part of the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) programme.
After the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) in November 2011, CSR Sustain partnered with renewable technology contractors, and helped deliver Ofgem RHI grant applications – before supporting Ofgem with further grant applications for renewable electricity generation following the launch of Feed in Tariff (FIT) for solar PV in April 2012.
And when the Green Deal scheme launched in England and Wales a year later, allowing homeowners to finance energy-efficient improvements based on their EPC recommendations, CSR Sustain’s nationwide network of 365 assessors conducted and delivered circa 2,500 RHI applications for solar thermal and ground source heat pump grants & Green Deal reports to enable applicants to claim grants for renewable technologies like heat pumps, and solar thermal and solar PV panels.
“Even though the assessments were scrapped after a couple of years”, Gary noted, “the Green Deal scheme ushered in a wave of environmentally conscious initiatives through all sorts of governing bodies. We realised early on that helping our clients reduce their carbon footprint not only reduced their operational costs, but also paved the way to Net Zero.
One of the biggest changes in energy legislation was the introduction of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in March 2015, meaning landlords in England and Wales could not legally grant a new lease or renew an existing lease for a property with an EPC rating below an “E”. With these new MEES targets impending, CSR Sustain began helping clients undertake strategic CAPEX funding to optimise their long-term costs.
By the time the MEES regulations were implemented in the commercial sector in April 2018, CSR Sustain were providing MEES consultancy to help large property portfolio stakeholders across the UK achieve even higher EPC ratings to maximise their energy efficiency.
Today, CSR Sustain remain independently run and continue to support asset performance for building tenants and client property portfolios. But their focus has now broadened to improving the operational performance of properties – and they provide a comprehensive suite of energy auditing services, and trusted insight and guidance, to help their clients optimise asset and operational performance across properties throughout the UK.
Their mission is bigger than ever too: to help clients lower their carbon emissions, reduce their energy bills, and help organisations reach their Net Zero targets by 2050.
“There’s only so many fossil fuels left in the world, so we need to look at renewables for the future and reduce CO2”, Gary added. And their latest hire, director Luke Cleary, demonstrates CSR Sustain’s commitment to this sustainable cause:
“I’m really excited to have joined CSR sustain. Over the years I have seen Gary navigate the fluctuating complexities of the energy compliance industry. Not only is it an honourable feat to succeed on a family legacy but also contribute towards the preservation of the environment.”
“I have a broad background ranging from engineering design, client-side project management, and building analytics. With this experience I believe I am positioned to advise our forward-thinking clients on the most appropriate action to optimise the operational performance and future-proof their property assets with strategic advice on long-term capital expenditure decisions.”
“By combining mine and Gary’s knowledge and experience in the energy auditing industry, we’re now launching a new suite of services to help property portfolio owners and tenants take control of their asset and operational building performance, and reduce energy use, through our circular three-step process.”
CSR Sustain’s three-phase management cycle – Benchmarking, Monitoring & Targeting, and Optimisation – takes a “holistic approach to energy efficiency”, and covers services from EPC certificates, building analytics, MEES solutions, energy audits and much more.
“Once a property is optimised, we always go back to the Benchmarking phase to update the rating and find solutions to improve this further,” Luke continued. “By continually providing updated ratings and taking preventative measures to avoid energy drift, we can help clients achieve the best possible energy efficiency ratings for their properties.”
With over 15 years of company experience, and complete confidence in supporting their clients, both Gary and Luke see this milestone as a turning point for CSR Sustain – and they’re already looking ahead for the next wave of energy legislation.