Commercial EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) are required for all commercial properties which are constructed, sold, or let.
Ratings are used by potential buyers or tenants to make energy comparisons between properties. Some buildings will be exempt from needing a EPC. A commercial EPC comes with a recommendation report that outlines how the energy performance of a building can be improved.
An EPC gives a building a standard energy and carbon emission grade from G to A, where A is the best for efficiency. The average building is currently around a D or E. The better a building’s energy performance, the more attractive it is to potential tenants and buyers and they are cheaper to run.
At Building Energy Experts, our team of experienced and accredited engineers take pride in guiding customers through what is required for each phase of your building project, from design to final reporting.
When is an EPC Required?
In April 2008 it became a regulatory requirement that as soon as you start to market your building for sale or let it needs to have an EPC available. You must get an approved Non-Domestic Energy Assessor (NDEA) or Commercial Energy Assessor to produce the Commercial EPC.
How is an EPC Calculated?
The energy performance of a building uses a software called Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) for its complex calculation which is based on a number of factors including:
- The lighting used throughout the building
- The construction type (walls, roofs, floors and glazing etc)
- Heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water heating
- If different zones of the building are used for different purposes
EPCs produce a grade between A and G. An A rating ranges between 0-25. Buildings with Net Zero Annual Carbon emissions are defined as a zero rating. E is the minimum rating a commercial building can achieve to be sold or let.
What is an SBEM?
SBEM is used for non-domestic buildings in support of the National Calculation Methodology (NCM), the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), and the Green Deal.
The tool is currently used to determine CO2 emission rates for new buildings in compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations. It is also used to generate EPCs for non-domestic buildings on construction and at the point of sale or rent.
Air Testing and Commercial EPCs
An air tightness test is not specifically required for a commercial EPC. However, many choose to undertake one as it can help dramatically reduce a building’s EPC rating. This is because when the EPC is being calculated, the software (SBEM) assumes an air permeability of 15 m3/(h·m2)@50Pa. Undertaking an initial air test can be the cheapest and easiest way to reduce your EPC score. Discovering your building’s current score and taking our recommended steps can be altogether more straightforward than adding expensive externalities.
There are some non-domestic buildings that don’t require an EPC and these exemptions can vary throughout the four different countries of the UK. For England and Wales, the current exemptions are:
- Places of worship – for example, churches and synagogues
- Some listed buildings – check with your local authority conservation officer to see if the work would alter its significance
- Industrial sites, workshops, and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy
- A temporary building that will be used for less than 2 years
- The buyer or tenant has applied for planning permission to demolish it
- Due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents
- Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
- Due to be demolished and the site redeveloped by the buyer or tenant where they are sold or rented out with vacant possession
Penalties for not having an EPC
The penalty for failing to make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant is fixed and generally steep. When selling or renting a non-domestic dwelling the charge is fixed at 12.5% of the rateable value of the building. There is also a default penalty of £750 where the formula cannot be applied. The specific range of penalties under this formula is set with a minimum of £500 and capped at £5000.
At Building Energy Experts, our team of experienced and accredited assessors take pride in guiding clients through what is required for each phase of your building project, from design through to final reporting.
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