How we achieved a better EPC rating (C)— and how you can AND must too
Why does my non-domestic epc matter so much?
If your building has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, you might think that’s OK. Unfortunately, it might cause you problems in the near future.
Fairly recent changes to EPC regulations* mean that landlords looking to rent out a commercial property in England and Wales have to comply with new regulations or risk being fined.
Since April 2018 a landlord cannot lawfully grant a lease of a non-domestic property that has an F or G rating on an EPC unless it has carried out cost-effective energy saving measures or claimed an exemption* — and this includes lease renewals to existing tenants.
Looking to the not-too-distant future, from 1st April 2023 a landlord will not be allowed to continue to let a non-domestic property under these conditions.
As a result, several things are happening
Most lenders will now not approve loans on sub-standard properties, and some will only lend if an energy efficiency upgrade plan is agreed to
Well-informed tenants are seeking buildings well clear of the EPC Grade F and G “danger zone”. Tenants do not want buildings that they cannot sublet
Landlords are seeking the advice of companies like Aria on the current EPC standard of their properties and on the air conditioning, ventilation and building modifications that would increase their EPC rating
Five good reasons to act now
Non-compliance can result in penalties of between £5,000 and £150,000 depending on the length of the non-compliance and the rateable value of the property
To avoid fines and future problems, we advise you to make any necessary building modifications to boost your EPC rating in time for the renewal of any leases or cut off deadline of April 2023
We strongly recommend that no building refurbishment is undertaken until the impact on the EPC is calculated
All EPCs carried out before April 2011 may be downgraded to a poorer grade if reassessed today, using the latest Government software
EPCs are valid for 10 years, so caution is required for borderline EPC grades assessed between 2008—11.
Aria’s story: how we did it
Here at Aria working with Vital Energy Assessors, we decided to take no chances and have made several improvements to our building. Our office, Saturn House in Calleva Park, comprises a first generation business unit constructed around a portal frame with brickwork walls to the ground floor and then profile metal clad to the first floor elevations and roof.
Before the work, we had a gas-fired boiler, old air conditioning units and fluorescent lighting, all of which needed upgrading.
- Heat recovery ventilation
- Energy efficient ducted Fan Coil Units – from Air Source Heat Pump air conditioning
- Programmable AC controllers
- Zoned AC
- HWS placed on a programmable timer
- Zip tap (Instant boiling water) placed on a programmable timer
- PIRs placed in kitchen, toilets and offices to turn off lighting if unoccupied.
- Lighting in ceiling grid replaced with LED Panels
- All electrical components replaced – Wiring/Distribution board, etc.
- Insulation — Cellotex
- External Lights changed to energy efficient type
- Removal of an inefficient gas-fired heater
We achieved a EPC ‘C’ RATING. Our building is safely out of the D or E “danger zone” in terms of future regulations.
Need to boost your epc rating? Aria can help
Aria can help assess your situation and bring your EPC rating up to where you need it to be to meet current and future regulations.
The Carbon Trust suggests that ventilation accounts for around 30% of heat loss in most commercial buildings and that air conditioning can increase a building’s energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by up to 100%.
Fully air-conditioned office buildings built in the 1980s and 1990s are particularly susceptible to very poor EPC grades, as too are uninsulated industrial buildings. But every property owner needs to check they comply with the regulations.
5 Steps to energy efficiency
- Site inspection to identify cost-effective measures, such as air-conditioning modifications, insulation, etc.
- Feasibility and options/appraisal
- Building modifications
- New EPC rating calculated
- Future-proofed energy efficiency
YOU CANNOT LOSE
There is no risk in seeking an improvement to your property’s EPC rating. This is because the obligation is to carry out cost-effective works on a building necessary to achieve an E rating or better. However, if the works advised do will not pay for themselves over seven years (thus making them cost-ineffective) the landlord does not have to carry them out.
We think it makes sense to do the required works required to achieve an E rating or better in time for regulations to apply to existing leases in April 2023.
*For more information on the regulations and exemptions, visit this guide on the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/energy-performance-certificates