Demystifying Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for business premises

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) have become increasingly important in the business world as the focus on sustainability and energy efficiency continues to grow. In this blog post, we will explore what EPCs are, who they apply to, why they are essential for business premises, their validity period, exemptions, and recent changes that have taken place.

Understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are documents that provide information about the energy efficiency of a building. They are vital in helping businesses and property owners assess and improve their energy performance. EPCs provide a rating from A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient and G the least. The rating is based on factors such as insulation, heating systems, and lighting.

Who needs an EPC?

EPCs are a legal requirement for all commercial properties in the United Kingdom. This includes retail stores, offices, warehouses, and industrial units. If you own, rent, or are responsible for a non-domestic building, you are obligated to obtain an EPC and make it available to potential buyers or tenants.

Why do you need an EPC?

There are several reasons why having an EPC for your business premises is crucial:

  • Legal compliance: As mentioned earlier, obtaining an EPC is a legal requirement. Failing to comply can result in fines and legal consequences.
  • Environmental responsibility: With increasing awareness of climate change and environmental impact, having an energy-efficient building demonstrates corporate responsibility. It aligns with the broader societal push towards sustainability.
  • Cost savings: An energy-efficient building typically incurs lower energy bills. By identifying areas for improvement through an EPC, businesses can implement changes to reduce operational costs in the long run.

Validity period of EPCs

EPCs are valid for ten years. After this period, a new assessment must be carried out, and an updated certificate obtained. Property owners and businesses need to keep track of the expiration date and plan for any necessary improvements to maintain or improve their energy rating.

Exemptions from EPC requirements

While EPCs are mandatory for most commercial properties, there are some exemptions:

  • Places of worship: Buildings primarily used as places of worship are exempt from the EPC requirement.
  • Temporary buildings: Structures with a planned time of use of fewer than two years are exempt.
  • Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 square metres: Small buildings that are not part of a larger complex may be exempt.

Recent changes to EPCs

Over the past few years, there have been notable changes to EPC regulations, reflecting the government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. Some key changes include:

  • Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES): Since April 2018, landlords cannot grant a new lease or renew an existing one if the property has an EPC rating below an ‘E’ unless certain exemptions apply.
  • Introduction of “EPC PRS Register”: In April 2020, the government introduced a new register for privately rented properties, requiring landlords to register their EPC details. This aims to improve the enforcement of energy efficiency standards in the private rental sector.
  • Future policy changes: The UK government has outlined its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This involves ongoing policy reviews and potential adjustments to EPC requirements to meet these ambitious environmental goals.

Conclusion

Energy Performance Certificates play a crucial role in helping businesses assess and improve their energy efficiency. As legal requirements, they ensure compliance with environmental standards and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. With recent changes emphasising stricter standards and the need for increased transparency, businesses should stay informed and proactive in managing their EPC obligations. By doing so, they contribute to a greener future and benefit from reduced energy costs and improved property values.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak to one of our energy experts to see how we may be able to assist your company in sourcing an energy contract to best suit your business requirements, please contact us at [email protected] or you can view more information on our procurement solutions here.