Editor: Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are now in force across England and Wales, and commercial properties that have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below ‘E’ will no longer be granted tenancy, unless eligible for an exemption.
Making buildings compliant is not cheap, but neither are the penalties, with property owners potentially facing fines of between £10,000 and £150,000 for every breach. In addition, information about each breach is liable to be made public, so will likely cause reputational damage as well.
These regulations are expected to tighten again in the coming years. In 2027, buildings must achieve a ‘C’ and then in 2030 a ‘B’. Building teams should therefore look to make significant, long-lasting changes to their buildings.
Meanwhile, the past few years have seen EPCs facing a healthy level of scrutiny, with a particular focus on their ability – or lack of ability – to capture a building’s energy intensity. So, with the new regulations effectively looking at potential, as opposed to actual, energy efficiency, some might question to what extent they are a useful tool in the race to net zero.
While MEES are a blunt instrument, they are well placed to encourage action from landlords, especially as the operational carbon efficiency ‘gap in the market’ is filled by new standards such as NABERS UK. An EPC itself will recommend upgrades to building control, and the importance of effective control in reducing energy intensity cannot be overstated.
Good practice during the operational phase of a building will keep operational carbon usage down, but it can also reduce embodied carbon and limit capex on premature replacement costs. Upgrading control and performance analytics is therefore one of the most effective upgrades that can be made, improving an EPC and reducing both opex and capex.
Monitoring and managing real-time consumption can reduce the performance gap, making buildings meet their energy efficiency potential. Investing in solutions such as this as part of MEES upgrades could put you ahead of the curve when it comes to running a compliant, efficient property.
William Hulls, chief revenue officer, Demand Logic