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Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for commercial buildings

The purpose of providing a commercial EPC during the sale or letting process is to enable potential buyers, tenants or building occupiers to consider energy performance of a building as part of their investment.

Builldings requiring a certificate
An EPC is only required for a building when constructed, sold or let. For the purposes of the regulations, a building is defined as: “A roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately”
No EPC is required if the building has no heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation but has hot water or lighting. Other categories of exemption include places of worship, temporary buildings, with a life of less than two years, buildings less than 50m2 that are not dwellings, agricultural buildings etc with low energy demand and buildings due to be demolished.

Validity of Certificates
Domestic EPCs and non-domestic EPCs are both valid for 10 years but if improvements have been carried out it may be worth renewing the certificate and the Recommendation Report because a better rating may be more attractive to potential purchasers or tenants. Sellers and landlords need to have valid EPCs for potential purchasers or tenants. A new building should have an EPC available on completion.
Certificates are only valid if produced by an accredited energy assessor and lodged by the assessor on the official register operated by Landmark information group Limited. Those legitimately in possession of an EPC, i.e. building owners, tenants and their agents, can verify the authenticity of a certificate by checking it against the contents of the register. Access to the database is restricted, so only those who have the unique reference number can access the certificate registered for a particular building.

Penalties for non-compliance
Trading Standards Officers are responsible for enforcement of the scheme.  Penalties include a fine of 12 ½ % of the rateable value of the building in the range £500 to £5,000, additionally an EPC must be obtained.  There are different variants for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Information required to produce an EPC
The Energy assessor needs to understand the internal layout of the building and for what purposes it is designed to be used.  The information that will be required to produce an EPC includes:

  • The construction of the fabric of the building and thermal efficiency of the materials used in the roof, floors walls and windows.
  • The dimensions of the individual spaces or zones in the building either as verified from plans or as measured including window areas
  • The activities conducted within the zones, for example retail space, office space, kitchens storage etc
  • The heating and ventilating services for each zone including the type of system, metering controls, fuel used etc.
  • The lighting and lighting controls used in each zone

Ideally plans for the building should be available to save considerable time and cost, however if there are no plans the Energy assessor will need to survey the building to gather appropriate information.
The Energy assessor is responsible for ensuring the information used in the energy calculations is accurate and even where plans and other data are available will need to validate this information by making a site inspection which is also used to gather information for the Recommendation Report.

Calculation
Approved software calculates the theroretical energy and carbon use of the building and compares it with a the energy and carbon use of a model building of similar size. In this way ratings A-G can be produced. A rating of 100 represents an average building of that type on the D-E boundary. New buildings are likely to achieve C ratings or better. The calculation software is also commonly used to produce calculations to pass part L of the Building Regulations.

More information is available from A guide to energy performance certificates for the construction, sale and let of non-dwellings” Dec2012

 

Tim Linford is an accredited Low Carbon Energy Assessor for EPCs level 3 and 4

contact him for further discusion about your needs.

 



TJL Associates 2014