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Driven by EPCs

21 March 2012

The tightening of Energy Performance Certificate requirements under the Energy Act is set to increase the drive for improved energy efficiency in buildings, says Sabien Technology

In 2011 the Energy Act was passed through parliament, setting out provisions for additional requirements to the current legislation around Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).

These new standards are set to significantly impact the future value of buildings unless improvements are made to increase energy efficiency. Furthermore, they are likely to increase demand for retrofit energy-saving technologies that can be implemented quickly and with minimum disruption while delivering a fast payback. In many cases, the onus will be on building services engineers to evaluate the various options available and advise on which are most appropriate.

EPCs were first introduced in England and Wales in 2007 and currently apply to homes as well as commercial properties over 50 sq.m. They are designed to provide a measure of how energy efficient a building is, based on an A to G scale, with A being the most efficient. They are issued when a building is being sold or rented, as a guide to the new prospective owner/tenant. EPCs also identify measures that can be taken to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

There is no onus on the building owner or landlord to carry out efficiency improvement but those buildings with a poor energy rating are likely to attract a lower purchase price or rent. Property owners that fail to provide an EPC are subject to a fine of £5,000 and will be required to produce retrospective certificates.

From April 2018 it is expected that it will become unlawful to rent out or sell business premises that do not reach a minimum energy efficiency standard threshold, envisaged to be an EPC rating of ‘E’ or above. This means that those properties which don’t meet the new standards – or are on the borderline - could suffer a significant drop in overall value unless they take approved measures to improve energy efficiency.

According to property services company DTZ, based on over 1,300 EPC audits in the last year, around 40% of commercial properties would be on the borderline E rating or below and could well see their value severely impacted.

DTZ Head of Sustainability Paul Brown said: “These proposed regulations could have a significant impact on landlords leasing property. Some landlords may view 2018 as too distant to start worrying now, but many improvements will need to be factored into asset plans and the nearer we get to 2018 the greater the demand and the more expensive it will be to implement changes.”

As noted above, the likelihood is that many end clients will be attracted by relatively fast solutions and may well look for advice from building services specifiers and installers. When advising clients it is important to understand the technology you are being offered, check its track record and talk to other people that have used it. And when evaluating technologies, be sure to compare like with like. Then you can be certain the selection process is based on the true merit of the product and not just what the salesman wants you to hear!

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