If you own a property in Aberdeen, or indeed anywhere in Scotland, the growing demand for energy efficiency should not be lost on you. The Scottish government, in a bid to combat climate change and reduce the carbon footprint, has implemented a set of strict legal requirements aimed at improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The thrust is to make ‘greener’ and more energy-efficient homes and commercial spaces a reality.
A key piece of legislation is the Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2020. This regulation necessitates that all buildings must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when they are built, sold, or rented. The EPC rates properties on a scale of A (most energy-efficient) to G (least energy-efficient). It is a tool designed to inform potential buyers or tenants about the energy performance of a building.
Since April 1, 2020, privately rented properties in Scotland need to meet a minimum EPC rating of ‘E’ at the start of a new tenancy. This requirement extends to all residential rental properties from March 31, 2022. Furthermore, it’s projected that the minimum EPC standard will rise to ‘D’ for all properties by 2025.
The Scottish government introduced the Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations in 2016. These regulations require that larger non-domestic buildings (over 1000m²) must have an Action Plan outlining energy efficiency improvement measures when sold or leased.
Another significant energy efficiency measure implemented by the Scottish government is the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS). Under this initiative, homeowners, landlords, and private tenants are eligible to apply for funding to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. The programme also encourages landlords to install more energy-efficient heating systems, better insulation, and draft-proofing in their properties.
Non-compliance with these legal requirements attracts penalties. For instance, landlords who rent out properties that fall below the minimum energy efficiency standards could face fines of up to £4,000. There are also penalties for failing to make the EPC available to prospective buyers or tenants, or not having an Action Plan for non-domestic buildings.
So, what does all of this mean for property owners in Aberdeen? Essentially, it requires a shift in perspective, viewing energy efficiency not as a burden, but as an investment. Indeed, energy-efficient properties are likely to fetch higher rental or sale prices, thanks to their reduced running costs and growing demand from environmentally conscious tenants or buyers.
Moreover, improving the energy efficiency of your property can contribute to a wider societal goal. As part of the UK’s commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the role of property owners in Aberdeen and beyond is instrumental.
It’s vital to get to grips with the energy efficiency requirements for your property. Not only will you avoid penalties, but you can also capitalise on the financial benefits that come with owning an energy-efficient property. In addition, you will be playing your part in creating a sustainable and environmentally-friendly Aberdeen.
Navigating the legal requirements of energy efficiency for properties might seem daunting initially. However, embracing these changes brings long-term benefits that far outweigh the initial time and financial investment. Remember, these standards exist not only to protect the environment but also to enhance the quality of life for people living or working in these properties.
It’s a call to action for everyone involved in the property market in Aberdeen: landlords, tenants, buyers, and sellers. Let’s contribute to a greener Aberdeen by improving the energy efficiency of our properties.