There is no question that energy efficiency is a major issue for retail business. The sector has already reduced its CO₂ emissions by 50 percent from 1990 to 2020. In this way, retailers have not only made a significant contribution to climate protection, but also achieved economic advantages by reducing energy costs.
The greatest energy savings can be achieved through comprehensive measures – not just by replacing individual systems such as cooling devices, but by optimising the energy use of the entire building. Retailers that rent have a hard time here, since the landlords are responsible for changes related to the building. That stated, since landlords do not benefit directly from the falling energy costs in the property, a lot of action can seem uneconomical and is not implemented. This so-called landlord-tenant dilemma means that considerable energy-saving potential in the retail sector remains untapped.
Based on a meta-analysis, the authors identify a variety of instruments that can counteract the landlord-tenant dilemma. These include, for example, the legal framework, funding and financing instruments and cooperation models. Based on this, the authors examine the practical suitability of the instruments on the basis of interviews with experts, retailers and landlords.
The study results and recommendations in brief:
- Only a few of the instruments examined are endorsed by all the actors surveyed
- The interest of renting retailers in building-related energy efficiency measures is less pronounced than among landlords
- The landlords often give financial or economic reasons as a key obstacle to the implementation of energy efficiency measures – here, for example, adapted funding programs with higher funding rates provide a suitable incentive
- Binding minimum standards for energy efficiency in existing buildings are a useful tool to motivate the majority of owners to take action
- The CO₂ price is identified as another important legal instrument
- In addition to binding legal regulations, cooperation between tenants and landlords should also be strengthened (e.g. through green leases).