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Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are relatively new in the commercial sector. They are a legal obligation for both domestic and commercial landlords. Here, you can find out everything you need to know about these environmental safeguards.

What is an EPC?

All commercial properties are required to have a valid EPC. An EPC records the results of an energy-efficiency assessment of a property. Buildings receive a rating to indicate how energy efficient they are from A (most efficient) to E (least efficient). The certificate is valid for ten years.

As well as a rating, the EPC also includes recommendations from the assessor. These suggestions can be used to increase the energy efficiency of your property.

Do I need an EPC for my premises?

An EPC is the responsibility of the building owner. It is a legal obligation, and you can receive a fine of up to £5,000 if one is not in place.

You need a commercial EPC if any of the following apply:

  • The building is to be rented or sold;
  • The building had construction works previously that have now been completed or;
  • Significant changes have been made, such as a new ventilation or heating system.

You can only have one valid EPC at any time. If you are not sure if your premises has an EPC, you can check online for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you are based in Scotland, you can check the Energy Performance Certificate Register.

Are there exemptions from needing an EPC?

Some businesses are exempt from EPC requirements. They include:

  • Detached buildings with floor space less than 50 square metres;
  • Temporary buildings (of less than two years);
  • Places of worship, such as churches and synagogues;
  • Registered protected buildings where the requirements of an EPC could cause an undesirable change;
  • Industrial or agricultural premises with low energy use;
  • Buildings planned for demolition.

Contact an assessor if you are unsure if your property meets the criteria.

How do I get an EPC for my property?

You should use an accredited surveyor assessor. They will complete the assessment and provide you with the certificate.

You will either need a Level 3 or Level 4 assessor, depending on your building specifications.

How much does an EPC cost?

The price of an EPC is calculated based on the size and complexity of your premises.

Buildings are divided into two categories for an EPC: simple and complex. Simple EPC surveys are generally cheaper than those for complex buildings.

Simple buildings are defined as those similar to domestic properties. They have small heating and cooling systems. A Level 3 assessor can complete a simple building EPC.

Complex buildings are usually large and more commercially-oriented. Examples include warehouses and factories. Complex buildings have more advanced heating and cooling systems. You will need a Level 4 assessor to complete a building EPC.

Can I improve my EPC rating?

Yes, once you have an EPC it will include suggestions for how to improve your rating. Common recommendations are:

Insulation

Better insulation means using less energy to heat and cool your property.

LED lighting

Energy-efficient lights use up to 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

Timers and sensors

Using technology to monitor and control your use of heat and light can also reduce your energy use.

These investments should not be considered box-ticking exercises. They will lower your energy bills and therefore save you money in the long term. They also reduce the carbon emissions your company produces.

Do I need to display the EPC?

Some commercial businesses are required to display their EPC:

  • Those with floor space of more than 500 square metres;
  • Buildings used by the public;
  • Buildings where an EPC has been produced for construction, rent, or sale.

You can be issued with a penalty notice if you fail to display an EPC when you should do so.

Is becoming more energy-efficient good for my business?

At Business Electricity Prices, we advise companies of all shapes and sizes. Energy-efficiency is a shared concern across all sectors.

While an EPC might be an unwelcome expense, it can have value for your company. We recommend businesses use the opportunity of an EPC to conduct an energy audit.

A simple check by you and your team of when and how you use energy. An energy monitor is a great tool to help you document how much electricity you use. You will likely discover lots of inefficiencies and ways you can use less energy. For example, equipment left on when not in use. Making a plan to rectify these practices will mean less money spent on your bills. That’s increased profit for your business.

If you need help, we have lots of great ideas on how to champion energy efficiency. From using thermostats to upgrading appliances. Check out our energy efficiency tips for more info!

Moreover, promoting your green credentials is great marketing. Consumers are increasingly environmentally-conscious. Many companies prefer partners that are conscious of their environmental impact. Sharing your improvements can mean increased demand for your products or services.

Make the most of your savings

Don’t forget, increased energy efficiency is not the only way to reduce your commercial energy bills. If you are not on a great value tariff, you will still overpay for the energy that you use.

Complete an online energy comparison today and see how much you could save.

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