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Changing Energy Performance Regulations

Business Energy Performance Certificates: Looking at How Recent Regulation Changes Affect Your Commercial Property

UK Government energy policy is due to change substantially within the next decade

The situation

Until recently, beyond EPCs, there hasn’t been any direct regulation in place regarding the energy efficiency of existing buildings.

This however is set to change, as the built environment continues to pose a difficult challenge for the UK on its path to Net-Zero.

Despite emissions from buildings across the UK falling by 17% over the last 30 years, over the next 30 years, it is required that we achieve a reduction 5 times greater than this if the UK is to hit its 2050 net-zero emissions target.

The performance of buildings is due to be central to government policy within the next decade. This starts with the new government-listed guidance that now means that large commercial and industrial buildings will be required to undergo new energy performance assessments and meet high energy efficiency standards by 2030.

What is an EPC?

EPC’s were first introduced by the Government in 2008 as a way of measuring the energy efficiency of buildings, using a grading system from A, the most efficient, to G, the least.

An EPC Is required whenever a property is rented or sold. Individual building energy performance gradings can then be accessed on a publicly available list here.

Minimum energy efficiency standards for rented properties

In 2018, the government listed guidance for landlords of privately rented non-domestic property regarding the minimum level of energy efficiency required within buildings, also known as Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

These standards state that:

  • Properties must reach an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.
  • These requirements will apply to all private rented properties in England and Wales, even when there has been no change in tenancy arrangements from 1st April 2023 for non-domestic properties.

Although this threshold is currently set at E, this is expected to increase over this decade, with almost all private rented commercial and industrial buildings in the UK likely to require an EPC rating of B or higher by 2030.

New performance-based regulations for commercial and industrial buildings above 1,000m²

The government have now decided to go further than EPC performance ratings, introducing mandatory performance-based energy and carbon ratings for large buildings above 1,000 m² in England and Wales.

Is this not already covered by current EPC ratings?

In short.. no. But why?

There is evidence to show that EPC ratings in practice don’t always reflect the actual energy performance of a building, as defined by its operational energy use. This is because, the carbon that a building emits is heavily dependent on occupant behaviour and energy usage, and therefore a high EPC score is no guarantee that a building will use less energy and emit less carbon.

It has therefore been concluded that, in some cases, EPC ratings alone aren’t adequate enough policy tools to help achieve the UK Government’s energy reduction targets.

This has been evidenced in national carbon emission statistics, which show that in England and Wales, only 7% of commercial and industrial buildings are larger than 1,000 m², yet they account for over 50% of carbon emitted from all commercial and industrial buildings.

And so, for buildings above 1,000 m², which tend to be more complex, it has been found necessary to examine the energy performance in more detail.

Consequently, if your building fits within this threshold, it is likely that you will be under considerable pressure to improve energy performance in the coming years.

How does this new scheme work?

This newly proposed scheme will be ‘performance-based’, thus placing the occupant at the centre of the equation.

Buildings will be rated by looking at the building’s annual energy usage on a m² basis. The scheme is said to be “designed to recognise and reward all positive uses of energy”, which includes on-site renewables like solar PV.

As with EPC ratings, individual building results will be made publicly available online and benchmarked against similar buildings. This will help to assess how energy consumption and carbon emissions are reduced over time, whilst holding companies accountable for their efforts.

 

The consultation has proposed that owners and single tenants of buildings above 1,000m² will be required to:

  • Onboard their building onto the new framework.
  • Submit their metered energy use data (and other relevant information) yearly to the rating administrator.
  • Receive a rating based on the building’s annual energy and carbon performance.

What is the current timeline?

The government is due to roll out its ‘first step’ of mandatory disclosure from 2022/23 onwards. Once these rating systems have been put in place, the data will be used to inform further regulations where required in order to help accelerate improvements.

What standards will you be required to reach?

For the majority of industrial buildings, installation of Energy Management Systems (EMS), LED lighting and additional loft insulation are excellent ways to pre-empt the strict energy efficiency regulations coming your way.

Additional measures for improving your buildings energy efficiency include investing in solar PV, double or triple glazed windows, or installing a more efficient boiler.

What steps will help you to reach the standards required?

For the majority of industrial buildings, installation of Energy Management Systems (EMS), LED lighting and additional loft insulation are excellent ways to pre-empt the strict energy efficiency regulations coming your way.

Additional measures for improving your buildings energy efficiency include investing in solar PV, double or triple glazed windows, or installing a more efficient boiler.

The added benefits to compliance

As an added bonus to improving your businesses sustainability credentials, installing carbon reduction technology frequently results in impressive energy savings. This is because lowering your carbon footprint this often means that you have reduced your energy usage which helps you save on the bottom line.

The Pilot Group solution

By investing in technology such as a Pilot Group Energy Management System you can see significant levels of saving. For instance, Carpenter and Paterson saved over £27,000 in the first 12 months after installing an EMS.

An EMS like the Pilot Group system allows you to access a user-friendly interface where you can visualise, compare and control your heating consumption in individual zones across your property as well as across multiple sites.

Our customers save on average 40% on their energy consumption, with the added benefit of being able to pay for the system with the savings they’ve made, therefore avoiding any large outlays- making investing in an EMS system a real no-brainer!

Our Pilot Group portfolio extends to smart contactless payment EV charging, highly efficient LED lighting, real-time Air Quality Monitoring and more.

We create tailored technology solutions that are smart, safe and sustainable, helping you to meet the UKGOV 2050 NetZero guidelines, reducing your energy bills and future carbon tax.

To book a free site visit & see how Pilot Group can help your building on its journey to meeting current energy performance regulations click here.


Do you have an enquiry?

Pilot Group have successfully helped a large number of different companies find solutions, saving them money, energy and time.

Pilot Group Limited,
15 Carnarvon Street,
Manchester M3 1HJ
+44 (0)160 659 6622