How to improve EPC Ratings for commercial premises

Development of sustainable real estate has never been so important, particularly with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations in mind.
July 1, 2024
Development of sustainable real estate has never been so important, particularly with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations in mind.

If you own a commercial premises, getting an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your building is essential to assess its energy efficiency and whether you are able to continue to let it.

Higher EPC ratings not only help reduce energy bills but also can enhance property value and environmental sustainability.

There are several strategies that landlords of commercial property can implement to achieve better energy performance and EPC certificates whilst ensuring tenant retention.

Conduct a Thorough Energy Audit

Before making any changes, it’s crucial to understand the current energy rating of your premises and potential inefficiencies.

Undertaking a professional energy audit will help you to:

– Identify areas where energy is wasted.

– Provide a baseline for measuring improvements.

– Highlight specific actions or works that can improve energy efficiency.

Upgrade Lighting Systems

Lighting is a significant energy consumer in commercial buildings. Upgrading to more energy-efficient lighting systems can have a substantial impact on your EPC certificate rating.

You can do this in a variety of ways, including:

Installation of LED lighting: LEDs use less energy and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional bulbs.

Incorporation of smart lighting controls: Use motion sensors, dimmers and daylight harvesting systems to reduce unnecessary energy use.

Improve Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems

HVAC systems contribute significantly to the energy consumption of your commercial premises. Enhancing or upgrading these systems can greatly improve energy efficiency and result in a better EPC rating.

– Upgrade to energy-efficient HVAC units: Newer models are designed to consume less energy.

– Implement regular maintenance: Ensuring that HVAC systems are well-maintained can prevent energy loss.

– Install programmable timers and thermostats: This sounds like an obvious solution but it is one that can optimise heating and cooling schedules based on occupancy patterns.

Enhance Insulation and Building Envelope

Proper insulation and a well-sealed building envelope can prevent heat loss (and gain), reducing the need for excessive heating and cooling.

– Insulate walls, roofs, and floors: High-quality insulation materials can significantly cut energy usage.

– Upgrade windows and doors: Double or triple glazing and energy-efficient doors can reduce thermal transfer.

Invest in Renewable Energy Sources

Incorporating renewable energy sources can dramatically boost EPC ratings and provide long-term energy savings.

– Install solar panels: Photovoltaic systems can in some cases generate a significant portion of the building’s electricity needs.

Optimise Building Management Systems (BMS)

A sophisticated BMS can monitor and control energy use more effectively.

– Automate energy management: Use software to adjust lighting, HVAC and other systems based on real-time data.

– Monitor energy usage: Regularly track energy consumption to identify and address inefficiencies promptly.

Foster Energy Awareness and Encourage Behavioural Change

Educating your tenants or the people within your own business about energy efficiency can lead to more conscientious energy use.

– Provide training and resources: Help employees or tenants to understand how their actions affect energy consumption.

– Encourage energy-saving habits: Simple actions like turning off lights and equipment when not in use can add up.

Upgrade Appliances and Office Equipment

Occupiers should think about updating appliances and office equipment as old appliances can use a lot of energy. Investing in their replacement with more energy-efficient models can contribute to a reduced energy consumption.

– Implement power management features: Use settings that automatically put computers and other devices into low-power modes when not in use.

Utilise Smart Technology

Smart technology can streamline energy management and enhance efficiency.

– Smart meters: Provide detailed information on energy usage patterns, helping to identify areas for improvement.

Regularly Review and Update Energy Policies

Achieving better energy efficiency is an ongoing process. To ensure that improvements are sustained and that new technologies are adopted where possible, it is important to regularly review and update energy policies.

As part of this, think about:

– Choosing or placing pressure on landlord to source energy from Green or Renewable sources

– Setting energy efficiency goals: Define clear, achievable targets for energy reduction.

– Stay informed about new technologies: Continuously explore advancements in energy efficiency.

Improving EPC ratings for commercial premises requires a comprehensive approach that includes both technological upgrades and behavioural changes.

By conducting energy audits, upgrading systems and appliances, incorporating renewable energy, and fostering energy awareness, you can significantly enhance your building’s energy performance.

This can result not only in energy cost savings but will also support your ESG policy whilst increasing property value and improving the prospects of tenant retention.

For help and advice on your commercial energy performance certificate (EPC) or for wider insights into energy efficiency improvements, contact our Energy & Sustainability Team.