Commercial EPCs and DECs

Commercial Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

I provide EPCs for all commercial (non-domestic) buildings.  Retail units, offices, industrial units, leisure and public buildings.  I am accredited to Level 4 which covers most commercial properties.

I am ECMK301091 which means my accreditation body is ECMK – and very nice folk they are too – highly recommended.

In Scotland the EPCs display CO2 emissions and energy consumption based on a “standardised” use of the building. 

This is expressed as CO2 emissions per kg/ per mfloor area per year.  The value dictates the score / rating of the building on a scale from A to G (A being the best).  An EPC is valid for 10 years.

I currently use iSBEM 5.4.b as dictated by the Scottish Government.  

iSBEM is software that calculates energy use and CO2 emissions based on the building geometry, construction, lighting and HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning).

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 to provide an EPC in Scotland for buildings that are for sale or for lease / to let.  The official legislation is The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008.  

So where a building is to be sold or let the owner must make a copy of a valid EPC available free of charge to any prospective buyer or 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
Commercial EPC completed by Stewart King

So what is involved in producing 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.

The envelopes are the floor, walls, ceiling, roof, glazing, doors and I determine the thermal performance of each element (the U-value).

The age of the building is very important in this respect.

The EPC Survey

A physical “map” of the building is generated, identifying and quantifying various services – heating, lighting, ventilation, air conditioning, hot water – and controls.

Usually I create a scale drawing of the property with all elements annotated because I could be audited by ECMK at any time so I make sure my files are complete and robust.  

I take many photographs during my survey, ensuring all angles are covered – this goes in my site evidence pack.

From Jan-2013 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)

Any building over 1000m2 with an F or G rating requires an “Action Plan” to be prepared prior to any new lease being signed.  

This will include prescribed improvements to improve the EPC rating.  

All improvements must be financially viable and implemented within 3.5 years.  

Building owners / managers should act now to ensure that “at risk” assets are accurately assessed.  

Around 18% of the commercial property market is believed to be below the minimum standard.

A number of historic EPCs are likely to not truly represent 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.