If you are looking to sell, rent, modify, or build a commercial property in the UK, then you probably need to improve your commercial EPC score.
By law, commercial buildings need an EPC score of “E” or higher. With the government indicating that this low bar will be raised in a few year’s time, and energy efficiency so high on the agenda, many commercial property owners and developers are looking for ways to improve their rating.
What is a Commercial EPC?
A Commercial Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is basically a document that provides information about the energy efficiency of a commercial building. It is required by law in the United Kingdom, for certain types of commercial properties when they are constructed, sold, or rented out.
Additionally, a commercial EPC gauges the energy efficiency of a building and gives it a rating from A to G, where A is the most energy-efficient and G is the least. The assessment takes into account factors such as insulation, heating and cooling systems, lighting, and renewable energy sources. The EPC also provides recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of the building, which can help reduce energy costs and environmental impact.
How Can I Improve My Commercial EPC Rating?
Improving your commercial EPC rating involves implementing energy-efficient measures to enhance the energy performance of your building. Here are some steps you can take to improve your commercial EPC rating:
Replace & Upgrade
- Insulation: Enhance insulation in your building to reduce heat loss or gain. Improve wall insulation, and roof insulation, and consider double or triple glazing for windows.
- Lighting: Replace inefficient lighting with energy-efficient alternatives such as LED lights. Install occupancy sensors or timers. This will control lighting usage and reduce unnecessary energy consumption.
- Efficient Appliances and Equipment: Replace old, energy-intensive appliances and equipment with energy-efficient alternatives. This includes office equipment, refrigeration units, and other machinery.
- Heating and Cooling Systems: Upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to more energy-efficient models. Ensure regular maintenance and optimize controls for efficient operation.
- Renewable Energy Sources: Consider integrating renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels or wind turbines to generate on-site clean energy. This can reduce your dependence on grid-supplied electricity.
- Behaviour and Occupant Engagement: Promote energy-conscious behaviour among building occupants. Encourage practices like turning off lights when not in use, shutting down equipment during non-working hours, and proper use of heating and cooling systems.
- Professional Energy Audit: Engage a qualified energy assessor or consultant to conduct a comprehensive energy audit of your building. They can identify specific areas where energy efficiency improvements can be made and provide tailored recommendations.
- Building Automation Systems: Install a building management system (BMS) or building automation system (BAS) to monitor and control energy usage. These systems can optimize energy efficiency by regulating lighting, temperature, and ventilation based on occupancy and time schedules.
- Energy Monitoring and Benchmarking: Implement an energy monitoring system to track energy usage and identify areas for improvement. Benchmark your building’s energy performance against similar properties to gauge your progress and set targets.
- Government Incentives and Funding: Explore available government incentives, grants, or funding programs that support energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings. These can generally provide financial assistance or incentives to implement energy-saving measures.
Do all Commercial Buildings Need an EPC?
Not all commercial properties in the UK need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The requirement for a commercial EPC depends upon several factors, including the type of building and its intended use.
In general, the following situations would require a commercial EPC in the UK:
Sale: When a commercial property is being sold, an EPC is required to be provided to potential buyers.
Rent: If a commercial property is being rented out or leased, an EPC must be made available to prospective tenants.
Construction: When a new commercial building is constructed, an EPC is required upon completion.
Modification: If there are significant modifications made to an existing commercial building that would affect its energy performance, an updated EPC might be necessary.
Which Commercial Buildings Do Not Need an EPC?
The specific exemptions include:
Places of worship: Buildings used primarily for worship or religious activities are exempt from the requirement for an EPC.
Temporary buildings: Structures intended to be used for a period of two years or less are exempt from the EPC requirement.
Industrial sites, workshops, and non-residential agricultural buildings: Buildings with low energy demand that are not frequently visited by the public and are primarily used for industrial or agricultural purposes may be exempt from needing an EPC.
Standalone buildings with total useful floor area less than 50 square meters: Small standalone buildings that are not part of a larger complex and have a total useful floor area of less than 50 square meters are exempt.
Buildings scheduled for demolition: Buildings that are due to be demolished within two years of the sale or rental agreement being concluded are exempt from requiring an EPC.
Listed buildings: Buildings officially listed as being of special architectural or historical interest and where compliance with certain energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance are exempt from needing an EPC.
It’s important to note that these exemptions may have specific conditions and limitations. We recommend that you review the latest regulations. In addition, you should consult with a qualified professional to determine the applicability of exemptions to a specific commercial building.
What EPC Rating Do I Need to Achieve?
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are regulations that set a minimum energy efficiency standard for privately rented non-domestic properties in the United Kingdom. These standards are designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce carbon emissions. The MEES regulations apply to both commercial and residential properties that are rented out.
The minimum energy efficiency standard is an EPC rating of “E” or above. This means that properties with an EPC rating of F or G, which are the lowest ratings representing the least energy-efficient buildings, cannot be rented out unless certain exemptions apply. The MEES regulations apply to all privately rented non-domestic properties, including offices, shops, industrial units, and other commercial premises.
MEES Regulation Trigger Points
The MEES regulations have different trigger points depending on the circumstances:
New leases: From April 1, 2018, the MEES regulations applied to new leases, meaning that a property with an EPC rating of F or G could not be leased or re-leased. This, however, is expected to be raised to a C by 2030.
Existing leases: From April 1, 2023, the MEES regulations extended to existing leases as well. This means that properties with an EPC rating of F or G cannot continue to be rented out even if they were leased before April 1, 2018. This is also expected to be raised to a C by 2030.
Exemptions: There are certain exemptions to the MEES regulations, including cases where energy efficiency improvements are not cost-effective, where necessary consents cannot be obtained, or where improvements would result in a devaluation of the property.
Enforcement and Penalties: Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the MEES regulations. Penalties for non-compliance can be substantial, including financial penalties and publication of non-compliant properties.
It’s important to consult with professionals to assess your building’s specific needs and develop a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy. Energy assessors, engineers, or sustainability consultants can all provide various levels of support and advice. Our team at Building Energy Experts are on hand to offer expert guidance and a clear route forward. We can help you prioritise the most effective measures to improve your commercial EPC rating, so get in touch today.
Sign Up Now For Exclusive Energy Insights!
"*" indicates required fields