Energy performance stagnating in commercial buildings

Government statistics show that little progress is being made on energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings despite the pressure of forthcoming legislation to make the worst performers unlettable.

The statistics include data from Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) of buildings in England and Wales that have been constructed, sold or let since 2008, along with data on larger public buildings.

All non-domestic buildings require an EPC when being built, sold or rented out, as well as a recommendation report to help owners and occupiers make their building more energy efficient. 

While there has been an increase in the number of properties in the top scoring A band in recent years, the number of properties in the B band has stagnated. At the lower end of the scale, the number of properties in the F and G bands has changed very little since 2010.

In the last 12 months to June 2016, 31 per cent of all non-domestic buildings built, sold or let were awarded an EPC rating of E, F or G. 

Forthcoming legislation

The data matches the conclusions of a recent government-backed study into the real-world performance of buildings, which found that many non-domestic buildings were not meeting performance expectations.

With the majority of buildings today expected to still be in use in 30 years’ time, and the government targeting a 50 per cent cut in emissions from buildings by 2025 against 1990 levels, significant improvements will have to be made to both existing and new buildings.

The data is particularly concerning for the commercial property market. From 1 April 2018, it will become illegal to rent out a property with an EPC rating of F or G under the government’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards regulations. 

The regulations could affect up to 80,000 commercial properties and force thousands of landlords to invest in energy efficiency measures.

Expert advice

A recent report from the British Chambers of Commerce and British Gas suggests that businesses than own their properties should consider getting advice to prioritise their own energy efficiency actions.

Grants for energy efficiency measures are currently available to SMEs from the Carbon Trust, alongside the Energy Technology List (ETL), an independently assessed list of energy saving technologies.

A useful guide to energy efficiency for SMEs is available here.

Posted under General Interest, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Regulations and Legislation on 16 August 2016