An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates how energy efficient your building is. It uses a grade scale of A to G, with ‘A’ being the most efficient grade. Although there are legal requirements for EPCs, businesses can also benefit from their assessment. EPC London ensures that you gain the most from your EPC rating.
The Legal Requirements
The current legal stance is that a business must have an EPC:
- If you sell or rent out your premises
- When a building under construction is completed
- If changes involving air conditioning, fixed heating, or mechanical ventilation systems are made to parts of the building under separate occupation.
A certificate must be displayed, unless you are exempt from requiring an EPC, if:
- The building is visited by the public
- The total floor area in used is 500+ square metres
- An EPC already exists for the building after its sale, rental or construction
The EPC application process and costs for commercial premises depends on whether yours is a “simple” or “ complex” building but without one, you could face a penalty charge of up to £5,000.
There are commercial properties and conditions that are exempt from requiring an EPC. These include:
- Temporary buildings with a planned use time of less than 24 months
- Standalone buildings that are not dwellings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 square metres
- The renewal or extension of a lease on an existing building
- Buildings subject to a compulsory purchase order
- Buildings where the lease is surrendered
- Low energy demand buildings such as workshops, industrial sites, or non-residential agricultural buildings.
It is important to understand how the rules of EPC apply to your business, whether you own your premises or are a tenant.
The Benefits on an EPC
There are advantages to having an EPC assessment on your business premises even if you are not legally required to do so under existing legislation.
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are in UK law to help the Clean Growth Strategy. A lot of the responsibility of improving the energy efficiency of the country is being put on commercial property owners and landlords. If you own your commercial premises or rent your building, your EPC assessment will alert you to changes you can make to be more energy efficient. Some changes might result in immediate budget savings. Some changes might require some capital investment with long term savings. You may be able to secure a grant or obtain a preferential business loan to help meet the costs.
Creating an energy-efficient work culture is not just the responsibility of the business owner. Responsibility falls on the workforce too. A business stands a better chance of gaining the benefits of energy efficiency if all staff are committed to energy saving measures and smart energy usage.
To make the best energy savings, the EPC will point out areas where improvements can be made. These are the top level savings tackling lighting, heating, and water. There are also lots of ways to make savings that will not be pointed out in the EPC Assessment, and they will differ for each business type and each individual business. Some minor research can help you understand the areas where you can make energy savings.
Customer confidence, Brand Reputation, and Social Benefits
Being energy efficient is not just important from the perspective of saving money on power bills and contributing to the UK’s energy targets. Having an energy efficient business is going to be positive attention for your brand reputation. As more and more businesses become eco-conscious, particularly about their customer proposition, an EPC is going to grow in importance. In the B2B sphere, as more London business owners get their own EPCs, they will probably look for suppliers and providers who are also certificated.
Should you look to rent out or sell your commercial premises in the future, having an up-to-date EPC is essential. If you are already in possession of the EPC and can demonstrate a good energy efficiency rating, your building is going to be more attractive to tenants and buyers. They will see improvements have already been made and can expect lower energy bills compared to properties that have had to obtain a brand new certificate or buildings with EPCs but lower energy ratings.
It does not cost very much to obtain a new or updated EPC and you can begin to reap the benefits right away.