Understanding Commercial EPC Energy Ratings
If you own or manage a commercial property, you understand the importance of energy efficiency. Commercial EPC energy ratings are more than a benchmark; they’re a direct influence on operating costs and can shape the competitive edge and compliance of your property.
In this article we’ll look at how commercial EPC energy ratings work, what factors affect them, and strategies for improving your building’s performance. We’ll also look at some of the legal requirements and potential financial incentives related to commercial EPC energy ratings.
Commercial Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) rate a building’s energy efficiency from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), based on factors such as carbon dioxide emissions, insulation, and lighting efficiency.
Improving a commercial building’s EPC rating can be achieved through energy-efficient lighting, better insulation, and upgrading heating and cooling systems, which also enhances the property’s market value.
Businesses must comply with EPC rating regulations to avoid penalties, with a current minimum requirement of an E rating and a future target of a C rating by 2028; integration of renewable energy sources can significantly improve these ratings.
What is a Commercial EPC energy rating, and how is it calculated
Commercial EPC energy ratings function as a gauge that measures a building’s energy efficiency. Ranging from A to G, where A represents the highest energy efficiency and G the lowest, these ratings are based on final CO2 emmisions that the building produces.
The calculation of these ratings is not straightforward. It takes into account a multitude of factors, including:
- The building’s carbon dioxide equivalent emissions
- The overall energy efficiency
- The efficiency, type, control, and time and heat controls of thermostats for the heating systems
- The role of mechanical ventilation systems in determining the rating
Insulation and efficient lighting are also critical components. While insulation enhances energy efficiency, inefficient lighting can adversely impact the rating in a commercial building.
How do different energy efficiency measures impact commercial EPC ratings?
Energy efficiency measures significantly impact commercial EPC ratings. For instance, efficient lighting can have a substantial impact on a commercial property’s energy efficiency, potentially resulting in a significant increase in the EPC rating.
Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems also play a crucial role. These measures can boost the EPC rating by reducing energy usage and emissions, regardless of the building type.
What are the key components of a commercial EPC assessment?
A commercial EPC assessment involves:
- Looking at the building’s dimensions, such as average floor to ceiling heights, and accurate measurements of floor areas, walls, roofs, and windows
- Gathering details of the building’s construction type.
- Gathering information about the building’s HVAC system and efficiencies.
- Assessing the current levels of insulation.
This assessment goes beyond merely determining the energy efficiency of a building; it encompasses many other intricate factors that contribute to it.
Commercial Energy Rating Certificate
To obtain a commercial energy rating certificate, you must use the services of a qualified non domestic energy assessor (NDEA). The EPC assesses the energy efficiency of the property, rating it from A to G, where A represents the highest level of efficiency. On average, it takes 2-3 days to receive the certificate following the intial site visit.
Prices start from £198 for smaller commercial units on a single floor, such as local shops, salons and takeaways. The certificate, once registered, can then be accessed from the government epc register.
How can businesses obtain a commercial energy rating certificate?
Here is the process you need to obtain your commercial EPC certificate.
- Contact a professional energy assessment company.
- Ensure that the company has commercial assessors registered and accredited as Non-Domestic Energy Assessors.
- Schedule an assessment with the company.
- The assessor will visit the property and collect relevant data.
- The assessor will analyze the data and using approved software, calculate the energy performance rating.
- The assessor will issue a commercial energy rating certificate that is lodged on the goverment register.
Strategies for Improving Your Commercial Property’s EPC Rating
Improving a commercial property’s EPC rating need not be a daunting task. It involves implementing strategic measures that can give a considerable boost to the energy efficiency of the property. Some key strategies to consider include:
- Improving or adding insulation
- Upgrading heating and cooling systems
- Change lighting to LED lighting
- Use of renewable energy sources such as solar, heat pumps or air con units.
By implementing these measures, you can improve your property’s EPC rating and contribute to a more sustainable and energy-efficient environment.
Once a commercial epc has been produced, there is a section called the recomendations report. This will highlight which improvements would be most beneficial for your particular building.
Commercial EPC Ratings and Property Value
The impact of commercial EPC ratings extends beyond energy efficiency. Properties with higher EPC ratings are likely to have a higher market value and appeal to environmentally-minded tenants or buyers. A high EPC rating indicates energy efficiency and environmental compatibility, which aligns with the principles of environmentally conscious tenants or buyers. This also provides them with the benefits of decreased energy costs and a reduced carbon footprint.
A commercial property’s EPC rating can also increase its market value, resulting in higher rental or sale prices, thereby offering a substantial return on investment for the property owner. Properties with higher energy performance ratings typically command higher rental values, which can also have an impact on their capital values.
Commercial EPC Assessors
Commercial EPC assessors play an important role in the epc process. A commercial building can only be assessed by a certified professional.
For an individual to become a commercial EPC assessor, they require training in non-domestic energy assessment to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for conducting professional energy calculations on commercial buildings.
What’s the difference between energy ratings and energy efficiency in commercial buildings?
Although interconnected, energy ratings and energy efficiency are separate concepts. While energy ratings offer a standardised assessment ranging from A to G, signifying the energy efficiency potential of a building, energy efficiency relates to the real-world performance of the building in terms of energy usage and running costs.
A commercial building heated by electricity will acheive a higher commercial epc rating than one heated by gas. The property heated by gas will have lower running costs because gas is about a quarter of the price of electric. The electric property only rates higher because it has lower carbon emissions than gas and the rating on a commercial building is based on the carbon emmissions.
It can be seen like a balancing act on commercial buildings to acheive both low CO2 emmisions and low running costs. The best solution when using electric, is to use air con systems or air source heat pumps, this results in lower running costs whilst still maintaining low carbon emissions.
How can businesses balance energy ratings and energy efficiency improvements?
Many businesses find it challenging to balance energy ratings with energy efficiency improvements. It involves prioritising cost-effective measures that provide the most significant impact on both the rating and the building’s overall performance. Several economical methods to improve energy efficiency and EPC ratings include:
- Transitioning to LED lighting
- Insulating walls and roofs
- Upgrading windows
- Installing renewable energy sources
- Enhancing ventilation
- Upgrading insulation
EPC Ratings Legal Requirements
Businesses must comply with the minimum EPC rating legal requirements that are applicable to all rented properties. It currently states that all rented properties must have an EPC rating of at least an E unless a valid exemption is registered on the PRS Exemptions Register.applies. This minimum rating is due to be increased to a C rating by 2028. Our EPC Bedford case study shows how we worked with a client to raise a G rated EPC to an E rating, ultimately making the unit suitable for rental
It is also a legal requirement that all rental or leased properties have a valid EPC registed on the government epc register. The epc certificate is valid for a period of 10 years. You must get a new epc certificate once it expires.
The prescribed energy efficiency standards for commercial properties in terms of EPC ratings are a C rating by 2028. There are, however, exemptions to the legal requirements for commercial EPC ratings. Some of these exemptions encompass listed or officially protected buildings, temporary buildings used for 2 years or less, and properties on the PRS Exemptions Register.
Can I sell a commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G?
Yes, you can sell a commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G, but you must disclose the rating to potential buyers and may be required to carry out energy-efficient improvements to raise the rating.
What penalties or consequences can businesses face for non-compliance with EPC rating regulations?
Businesses can face harsh penalties and consequences for not complying with EPC rating regulations. Fines can range from £10,000 to £150,000 per breach for failing to comply with commercial EPC regulations, and the maximum fine will be raised to £150,000 starting from April 1, 2023. Non-compliance can result in financial penalties, negative publicity, and substantial harm to a business’s reputation.
Penalties for non-compliance are consistently enforced, and businesses may face significant financial consequences as a result.
Commercial Buildings Renewable Energy and Ratings
Incorporating renewable energy in commercial buildings substantially influences EPC ratings. Systems such as solar panels or wind turbines can make a significant contribution to a building’s energy efficiency.
The integration of renewable energy systems in a commercial building with a low EPC rating can yield financial savings, enhance energy efficiency, and support environmental sustainability.
How does incorporating renewable energy sources affect commercial EPC ratings?
The addition of renewable energy sources positively influences commercial EPC ratings. Systems like:
- Solar panels
- Heat pumps
- Solar battery storage
- Wind turbines
- Solar thermal systems
Among these, photovoltaic solar panels are one of the renewable energy systems that offer the most significant improvement to the EPC rating of a commercial building.
Are there incentives or government programs encouraging renewable energy adoption in commercial properties?
A wide range of incentives and government programs exist to promote the use of renewable energy in commercial properties. Businesses can avail of grants such as business energy efficiency grants and schemes, government energy grants, and financing options for green energy projects. There are also low-interest loan programs available for implementing renewable energy upgrades in commercial buildings.
Various schemes apply on a local level and it is advisable to see what’s avaiable in your local area by visiting the local authorities website.
To sum up, commercial EPC energy ratings provide an essential measure of a building’s energy efficiency.
Understanding these ratings and the factors that influence them can help businesses make informed decisions about their properties.
Implementing energy-efficient measures, investing in renewable energy sources, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements not only improves these ratings but also contributes to cost savings and environmental sustainability. As we strive towards a greener future, the role of EPC ratings in the commercial property market will only continue to grow.