Skip to content

CIBSE is currently upgrading its IT systems to improve core customer functions and increase efficiency and effectiveness. This will mean some website services will be offline until Monday 25 July. Help

Energy Capacity Position Statement

Summary of issue

There is an urgent need to address the energy trilemma of security of supply and infrastructure, social equity (affordability and accessibility) and environmental sustainability (emissions and climate change). The continued consumption of fossil fuels globally is not sustainable and the UK faces a potential energy capacity gap. There needs to be a coherent approach to addressing the energy trilemma; CIBSE’s focus is on energy use in buildings and, both new and existing stock are a key part of this, wherever they are located. 

Key points

  • Buildings represent a critical piece of a low-carbon future; existing and future buildings will determine a large proportion of global energy demand. In 2010 buildings accounted for 32% of total global final energy use and current trends indicate the potential for massive increases in energy demand and associated emissions. (Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group III Report “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change”).

  • Existing and new buildings (both domestic and non-domestic) need to become an urgent infrastructure priority, with a focus on design and refurbishment which minimises energy consumption, makes use of passive design and promotes the use of renewable and low carbon energy sources.

  • Significant demand reduction can be achieved through simple energy efficiency measures and effective operation of buildings.

  • Extensive investment in refurbishment is required to rapidly improve the energy performance of existing building stock.

  • Any new investment in generating capacity and infrastructure should carefully consider all environmental impacts of the different types of energy supply and should not be made at the expense of demand reduction activity.

​CIBSE’s position

CIBSE believes that a whole building approach should be a priority when tackling the future energy capacity gap and energy trilemma of security, social equity and environmental sustainability. The focus should be on; reducing energy demand, meeting energy demand efficiently, supplying energy from renewable and low carbon sources and enabling effective energy management.

Further information

Further CIBSE guidance on energy efficiency includes:

Further guidance on renewable and low carbon energy includes:


Matt Snowden, PR and Communications Executive, 020 8772 3671

Sara Kassam, Head of Sustainability Development, 020 8772 3632

Date produced:  24 May 2015