Seven in 10 commercial properties in Darlington have poor energy performance, according to a study by Property Inspect.

With energy performance taking insulation and heat transfer into account, poor performance results in higher heat demand and much higher bills.

As the cost of office space has risen by 13 per cent in the past year and energy bills accounting for 7 per cent of the total management costs, many offices are considering closure to tighten their belts over this winter.

66.37 per cent of commercial properties in Darlington have a rating of D or below in energy performance.

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While the minimum requirement is an E and properties within the A-E range represent 87 per cent per cent of all properties, this is still deemed to be low energy performance by the government’s standards.

Across the UK, three in five commercial buildings have an energy rating of D or lower. The West Midlands has the worst office stock, with only 37.98 per cent of buildings above a C.

The 10 worst-performing local authorities for office energy performance

  • Nottingham (East Midlands): 32.52 per cent
  • Conwy (Wales): 32.58 per cent
  • Leicester (East Midlands) :33.11 per cent
  • Dudley (West Midlands) :33.21 per cent
  • Sandwell (West Midlands) :33.43per cent
  • Darlington (North East): 33.63 per cent
  • Powys (Wales) :33.68 per cent
  • Ceredigion (Wales): 33.84 per cent
  • Kensington & Chelsea (London): 33.87 per cent
  • Torfaen (Wales): 33.93 per cent

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Warrick Swift, commercial director of Property Inspect, said: “Despite efforts from the government to support businesses, like the energy bill relief scheme, this doesn’t resolve the issue that many of our commercial properties are not fit for purpose.

Poor energy performance means offices struggle to stay warm in winter and cool down in summer, making office costs for air conditioning and heating much more expensive. This is a particular challenge for small businesses and could lead to business closures after long periods of extreme weather.

Though this winter hasn’t been as cold as previous years yet, the rising energy costs present a far greater challenge than even colder weather. To really make a significant improvement to business costs, the government should implement incentives for commercial property owners to make energy performance improvements.”

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