Commercial property – the benefits of obtaining an EPC rating
Guest post by Ella Hendrix —
The UK government is dedicated to its Clean Growth Strategy which is helping to improve energy efficiency across the commercial property sector. The aim is to improve energy productivity in the country by 20%, by 2030 with potential savings of around £6 billion. Much of the responsibility for these savings is being placed on commercial property owners and landlords.
The emphasis is on making use of smart energy controls and insulating properties in a more effective manner. The introduction of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards which became law this year is one of the actions aimed at encouraging landlords to ensure commercial properties are energy efficient. In order to comply with these standards, the efficiency rating of a property needs to be at a certain level. This rating is displayed on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for a property. According to EPC for You, when a commercial or residential property is to be advertised for sale or rent/lease it will legally require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
What is an EPC?
An EPC is similar to the coded energy performance stickers you see on a new appliance except that it contains information about the energy efficiency of a building. Anyone who is buying or renting a commercial or residential property in the UK has access to an EPC for the property which helps them to see what energy bills they should expect and what the carbon dioxide emissions are.
An EPC also contains information about improving the rating of a property. For instance, it may be suggested that the insulation is updated or that smart metering is used. This is important information for any individual or business that wants to save money by being as energy efficient as possible.
When are you legally required to have an EPC completed?
If you intend to sell or rent out a commercial or domestic property that you own, you need ensure that there is an EPC in place. Once an EPC is completed it remains valid for ten years. Trading standards can impose fines up to a maximum of £5,000, so it makes sense for anyone who is selling or renting a property to make sure that a valid EPC is available. The same applies if a property is newly built, an EPC should be completed before the building work is signed off.
If you need an EPC for a property, the inspection and completion of the certificate has to be carried out by an accredited assessor such as EPC For You. They carry out a thorough inspection of the property, decide on an energy performance rating and provide advice on how to make improvements. The information is all provided in a completed EPC.
How an EPC can benefit your business
Even if you are not legally required to have an EPC in place for your business premises at the present time, this should not dissuade you from having one completed. When it comes to the importance of having an EPC for commercial premises, one of the most important considerations is the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. Currently these standards mean that it’s illegal for commercial landlords to rent out a premises for the first time, or renew a lease, if the energy performance rating is F or G, unless they register a valid exemption. From 1 April 2023 it will be illegal to continue renting a property if the performance rating is F or G. What is not clear is whether the landlord or the business renting the property will be expected to make the required improvements. It makes sense for your business to know whether changes are necessary. Getting an EPC for your business provides you with this information.
Another important benefit of having an EPC for your business is that it can help you to save money by alerting you to potential changes you could make. For example, you may not be aware of the smart energy controls that you could be using. You may even be able to secure a grant, or preferential business loan to help you meet the cost of making improvements.
Being energy efficient as a business is not just important from the perspective of making budget savings, it can also be beneficial to the reputation of your brand. There is a lot of emphasis on creating a greener planet right now. Showing that your business is environmentally aware is likely to attract positive attention. All of this can start be simply having an EPC completed, enabling you to build on your energy efficiency, from a knowledgeable foundation.
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