As a commercial property landlord, you have a lot of responsibilities, from ensuring the health and safety of the building to keeping on top of structural repairs. Since 2018, landlords have also been responsible for ensuring their properties comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
With growing concerns over climate change, it’s everybody’s responsibility to do their part and to encourage the right behaviours, the Government is set to tighten the MEES regulations over the coming years. Read on to understand how these changes might impact your property.
Do Commercial Buildings Need an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) tells you the energy efficiency of a building. It uses a ranking system from A to G, with A representing a very efficient building and G indicating an inefficient building.
An EPC needs to be obtained whenever a property, including a commercial building, is built, sold or let, and is valid for 10 years from the date of issue.
Is an EPC Certificate Required by Law?
It has been a legal requirement to obtain an EPC for commercial properties for over a decade. Failure to obtain a valid EPC certificate may lead to a financial penalty between £500-£5,000.
It’s worth noting that there are some exemptions that apply for commercial properties including certain listed properties, places of worship or temporary buildings.
Who is Responsible for EPC on a Commercial Building?
The building’s owner or landlord is responsible for obtaining an EPC from a qualified EPC surveyor when they choose to sell or let their property. An EPC is also required for new builds and significant modifications to the heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation systems.
The property owner or landlord is also responsible for ensuring their property complies with the MEES requirements.
Will EPC Regulations Change?
The requirement for properties to obtain an EPC has existed since 2007. The MEES requirements were introduced in 2018 and at present, they set out that commercial properties cannot be leased to a new tenant unless it has an EPC rating of E or above.
To achieve the UK’s Net Zero Carbon target by 2050, the Government will be tightening the EPC regulations over the next few years in hopes that it will encourage enough investment to improve energy efficiency and better behaviours all-round.
All tenanted commercial properties, including new and existing tenancies, will need to have an EPC rating of E or better.
April 2027 will be a milestone marker. For those properties rated in Bands D or E, landlords will be obliged to obtain a new EPC to demonstrate that the property has improved to Band C or better. At the very least, the EPC will need to show that the property has achieved its best possible ranking, with a reasonable view taken on the cost of implementation.
By April 2030, all non-domestic rented buildings must have improved to an EPC rating of A or B.
How Can You Improve Your Commercial EPC Rating?
While the new targets may be daunting, it’s a good idea to start looking at ways to improve your EPC rating now.
A great place to start is by obtaining an EPC. Not only will an EPC tell you your building’s current energy efficiency, but it will also give you lots of ideas and suggestions to improve your energy rating.
Common ways to improve your commercial EPC rating can include:
- Installing Insulation: Check whether walls, floors and lofts are as well insulated as they can be to prevent heat from escaping the building as much as possible.
- Change to LED Lighting: low-energy lighting solutions, motion sensors and timers can help reduce your energy usage.
- Double-glaze your Windows: Double-glazing prevents heat transfer, keeping your building warmer when it’s cold outside and cooler when it’s hot.
- Draught-Proofing: Ensure gaps around windows and doors are minimised to prevent cold draughts from getting in and heat from getting out.
- Renewable Energy Sources: Solar panels and ground source heat pumps can reduce your reliance on national energy sources and lower your carbon footprint.
Climate change, preserving the environment and cutting energy costs are all at the forefront of our minds, and rightly so. As the Government seeks to encourage us all to do our bit through the shake-up of the EPC regulations over the next few years, the necessary changes to improve the energy efficiency of our commercial properties may seem like a mountain to climb. Making a start now will help to spread the cost out, ensuring that we’re compliant by 2030.