EPC’s extended to all commercial properties
The Government has reminded business–owners that all firms selling or letting commercial property are now obliged to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
This legal requirement was introduced on 1 October 2008 and aims to give business–owners a better idea of the energy efficiency of their building, and to provide prospective commercial property owners, or tenants, with crucial information before making a decision.
Previously, the legislation only applied to buildings bigger than 2,500 square metres. But now any firm which fails to provide potential buyers or tenants with an EPC risks a fine equivalent to 12.5% of the rateable value of their property.
The EPC grades a buildings energy efficiency on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient. The average rating for commercial buildings is currently a D. The certificate also includes recommendations on how a firm can improve its energy efficiency — although these are not legal obligations. Parliamentary under secretary of state for the Department of Communities and Local Government, Iain Wright said:
“Energy Performance Certificates offer businesses a starting point for improving the energy efficiency of their buildings,”
“The certificate provides clear information on a building’s energy efficiency and recommends cost–effective measures, providing a real opportunity for organisations to reduce their energy consumption and their fuel bills,” he added.
To obtain a certificate, firms must contact an accredited assessor, who will review their property and assess various factors — such as whether it has double–glazed windows and how thick the walls are. The business then receives a report, including advice on how to improve their rating. The price of EPCs will be set by the market and market demand. It is likely in practice that the cost will vary according to a number of factors including size, location and age of the building.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned that small businesses are not clear on the new requirements and that there are not enough energy performance assessors available to help fulfil them. Director–general of the BCC David Frost said:
“Small firms have been contacting us confused and frustrated by the EPC requirements for commercial buildings. Property owners are trying to abide by the rules, but it seems very little of the necessary structure around delivery has actually been thought through by Government.”
“We hope that businesses and property owners are not left in limbo because of the shortage of fully accredited energy performance assessors,” he added.
Typical recommendations to businesses following an assessment include:
- installing solar water–heating and electricity generation
- controlling the thermostat of the building better to ensure that heating is not wasted
- replacing standard lighting with energy–efficient lighting.
To find an accredited energy assessor in your region, telephone the Energy Performance for Buildings Directive on 0845 365 2468
For more information on finding an accredited energy assessor, visit the Non–Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register website