We are a Glasgow based Energy Assesor and carry out EPCs for our clients.

We are often asked by clients “Do I need an EPC for my building? It is only a small shop and does not have any heating.”

We are commonly asked this question by potential clients recently where a solicitor is requesting that a commercial energy performance certificate is produced before a sale or let goes through. However, if the clients property is less than 50 sq m (840 sq ft) it will not require an EPC.

EPC is not required on construction, sale or rent for:

  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings with a planned time of use of less than two years
  • Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 sq m that are not dwellings (see glossary of terms for a definition of stand-alone)
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand (see glossary of terms for a detailed description)

EPCs are not required on sale or rent for buildings due to be demolished. The seller or landlord should be able to demonstrate that:

  • The building is to be sold or let with vacant possession
  • The building is suitable for demolition and the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment
  • They believe, on reasonable grounds, that a prospective buyer or tenant intends to demolish the building (eg on evidence of an application for planning permission)

An EPC is only required for a building when constructed, sold or let.

For the purposes of the regulations, a building is defined as:

“A roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately”.

For a building to fall within the requirement for an EPC it must:

  • Have a roof and walls
  • Use energy to condition the indoor climate

Services that are considered to condition the indoor climate are the following fixed services: heating, mechanical ventilation or air-conditioning. Although the provision of hot water is a fixed building service, it does not “condition the indoor environment” and would not therefore be a trigger for an EPC. The same argument applies to electric lighting.

Use of energy to condition the indoor climate and the requirement for an EPC.

  • Fixed services are any part of, or any controls associated with, fixed systems for heating, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning i.e. those services attached to the fabric of the building
  • If there is no intention of having fixed services and no ability to include fixed services to condition the indoor climate, then an EPC will not be required
  • If a building is to be let with fixed services, the EPC for the building should reflect the fixed services actually installed
  • If a building is to be let without fixed services, but there is an intention that fixed services will be installed, the EPC should be based on the building’s use class under the planning legislation. This applies whether fixed services have ever been installed previously in the building, or whether the building is newly constructed on a “shell and core” basis

For the purposes of producing the EPC, the activity within the building should be specifi ed in line with business activity typical of the use class and the most energy intensive fit-out adopted in line with Part L of the Building Regulations in force when the building was built.

Are Commercial (Non-Dwelling) Energy Performance Certificates Useful?

Like it or not Commercial Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are here to stay, so why not make of the most of them?

Commercial EPC is a part of a package, designed to help the UK meet its Kyoto Protocol targets, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. By definition the reduction in emissions means a reduction in energy use, which means there are financial savings to be made for the owners and occupiers of buildings.

The EPC is produced using the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) software, with various front-ends to allow the assessor to input data. The energy assessor/surveyor attends the building and makes measurements of the internal geometry, and an audit of the fixed building services such as: heating, cooling, and lighting and also makes a note of the occupancy use of the different areas or zones within the building. This allows the software to build up a picture of the buildings and produce an Asset Rating.

However, the EPC as a compliance document does not currently provide the client which much in the way of information on the data collected or the outputs that are created and which are available to the energy assessor, which break down the energy consumption of the building into a number of elements.

The Recommendations Report which accompanies the EPC is another bone of contention. Generally the recommendations are poorly applied or thought out, with assessors unaware that the software was initially designed as a compliance tool, and therefore the recommendations that it produces are biased to provide designers of buildings with advice , or that the software contains errors that produces recommendations that are irrelevant to the building that was assessed.

Examples of this are:

“Carry out a pressure test, identify and treat air leakage. Enter result in EPC calculation” – The EPC produced for sale or let is a final document, it can be regarded as thoughtless or unprofessional to then recommend to a client to have their corner shop air pressure tested in this way, put simply what good will it do?

“Some walls have insulated cavities-introduce cavity wall insulation” – This recommendation occurs as an error in SBEM even when solid brick walls have been identified as a construction type.

Some companies do however, consider all the recommendations and remove those that are irrelevant or generated by error. Others will add further user recommendations where applicable to help the owner and tenants to reduce their energy consumption and hence costs.

Would you like to know more? We are more than happy to discuss your requirements further.

We are Energy Assessor based in Glasgow. But we are able to do EPC – Energy Performance Certificate all over UK.

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