AEJ in New Contract Cleaning Win
Back in 2016, the Energy Efficiency Regulations (2015) established the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, or MEES as it is often referred to, in the residential and commercial private rental sector. This was introduced by the UK Government to improve the quality of rented buildings and reduce CO2 emissions in relation to the UKs targets for decarbonisation.
The UK Government has since pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and in the process improve the energy efficiency of the country’s historical buildings. Under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), it is not against the law to grant a new lease or the renewal of an existing lease to a landlord on a commercial property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) below an E rating. Certificates range from A, the highest to G, the lowest. The government believed that almost one in five commercial properties would be unable to achieve a rating above F.
The rules, currently in force, are about to become even more stricter, however, as by April 2023 it will become an offence to continue to let a commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G, even in the middle of a lease.
There are however, some exceptions to the rule as the regulation does not apply to commercial leases that are in operation for less than a six month term or more than 99 years. Some listed buildings are also on the exception list. Both the landlord and the tenant need to undertake their own research into whether leasing a listed building makes them liable. Currently an EPC rating is valid for 10 years and if a commercial property has a rating of F or G yet the lease was signed before 2018, then MEES will not apply to a lease that before the April 2023 deadline. There is a maximum fine of £150,000 for non-compliance, depending on the property’s rateable value so be aware of the risks.
So where does the Facility Manager figure in all this? Well, there are a variety of ways in which a commercial building can be improve its energy performance and the facility manager can have a positive influence on the implementation of this–
- Insulation – Improve your insulation. Poorly insulated roofs and walls can have a massive impact on the EPC rating. Landlords should consider adding insulation to solid brick or metal-clad properties, especially where there are cavity walls.
- Heating and cooling – Old HVAC plant and equipment is a significant factor in energy emissions. Install more efficient boilers, variable-speed heating and cooling pumps and high-efficiency chillers. Think about installing a heating control system that reduces the likelihood of wasting energy in different parts of the property.
- Lighting –A low EPC rating in a commercial building will have inefficient lighting systems. Look to replace older fluorescent tubes and halogen bulbs with LEDs. Similarly with heating, lighting controls can also dramatically reduce energy wastage in unused areas of the property.
- Predictive maintenance – Investing in predictive maintenance is crucial. After installing sensors on the assets, equipment and distribution networks in a commercial property, engineering teams can track energy efficiency and calculate when systems may begin to underperform.
Follow the above guidelines and there will be a strong chance a landlord will achieve a higher EPC rating than the current E pass mark. There is already talk of MEES looking to introduce a minimum energy efficiency target of C or B by 2030 and with the UK under pressure to meet its 2050 objectives, there has never been a better time to get your commercial building in order.