By April 2023, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations will come into force, prohibiting landlords from leasing out commercial buildings with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or lower. Those continuing to do so risk a fine ranging from £5,000 to £150,000.
The clock is ticking. Many commercial landlords are at risk of not meeting this tight deadline. New research from Bensons Gas Engineering reveals that more than 10% of commercial properties do not currently meet the guidelines and many thousands are not expected to achieve them by next April.
With much to do in a short space of time, what changes can landlords make to their properties to meet the required EPC rating?
There are many ways to decarbonise buildings, such as using a non-fossil-fuel boiler or a smart thermostat or by installing double-glazed windows or wall insulation.
However, installing a heat pump with a battery that stores energy generated from renewable sources is the most efficient way to tackle the problem. This is because sources such as solar or wind avoid using fossil fuels and a battery reduces waste by storing the power until it is needed.
Making changes like this does cost money. However, data is emerging to show that these costs can be recouped in the future in the form of lower energy bills and improved rental yields.
Research from Knight Frank and the Building Research Establishment found that buildings with ‘Very Good’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM ratings on prime central London office spaces led to rental premiums ranging from 3.7% to 12.3%.
The battery has long been acknowledged as the power source for mobile phones and now, with the popularity of electric vehicles, it is fast being seen as the optimum power source for transport. Once we start applying this approach to our buildings – which account for 40% of the UK’s total energy use – we will have a real chance of hitting our 2050 net zero target.
Owen Sweetman is director at EQONIC Group