Commercial Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
I provide EPCs for all types of commercial (non-domestic) buildings including retail, office, industrial, leisure and public buildings (Levels 3 and 4 which covers most commercial properties) – my official assessor number is ECMK301091.
In Scotland the EPC displays the CO2 emissions and energy consumption of the building based on a “standardised” use of the building – this is expressed as CO2 emissions kg/m2/floor area/year and the value dictates the score or rating of the building on a seven band scale from A to G (A being the best). An EPC is valid for 10 years.
I use iSBEM 5.3.a as currently dictated by the Scottish Government. iSBEM calculates energy use and carbon dioxide emissions based on a buildings geometry, use, construction, lighting and HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning). The software is based on algorithms and the rating is based on what is termed an Asset Rating. It doesn’t consider how the building is actually used, just what is physically in place.
The Legislation relating to EPCs in Scotland
From 4th Jan. 2009 it became a legal requirement in to provide an EPC in Scotland for buildings that are for sale or for lease / to let (official legislation is The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008. Where a building is to be sold or let the owner must make a copy of a valid energy performance certificate for the building available free of charge to a prospective buyer or prospective tenant.
The EPC incorporates three basic sections:
- the main certificate with the distinctive EU energy graph
- an energy label
- output documents including recommendations for improvement
So what is involved in generating an EPC?
Knowledge of the energy factors taken into consideration in the iSBEM calculation is very useful. During my survey, the building is thoroughly inspected to measure (and photograph) all envelopes (floor, walls, ceiling, roof, glazing, doors) and determine the thermal performance of each element (the U-value). The age of the building is very important in this respect. I have to physically “map” the building, logging the various services such as type of heating, lighting, ventilation, air conditioning, hot water services etc. I tend to produce a scaled drawing of the property with all elements annotated because I am likely to be audited by my accreditation body at any time and I make sure that my files are complete and robust. I will take many photographs during my survey of your property to ensure that every angle is covered.
From January 2013 these EPCs have been stored on a central register operated by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government. You can search for individual EPCs by report reference number (RRN) obtained by looking at the top of the EPC.
BREAKING NEWS on Scottish EPCs – Section 63 (or England/Wales – Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards MEES)
From April 2015 and enforced from October any building with an F or G rating requires an “Action Plan” to be prepared prior to any new lease being signed. This will include a number of prescribed improvements which should increase the EPC rating. All improvements must be financially viable and implemented within 3.5 years. Building owners / managers should act now to ensure that any “at risk” assets are accurately assessed and that any EPCs due to expire around 2018 are not likely to fall below the minimum standard when reassessed.
Around 18% of the commercial property market is believed to be below the minimum standard and it seems that a number of historic EPCs are not truly representing the current state of the asset due to inaccurate assessment in the first place.
Display Energy Certificates
I am also qualified to produce DEC’s – Display Energy Certificates – carry much information about the way in which energy is used within a building by its occupants.