How energy monitoring can help commercial landlords with their EPC rating
The regulations governing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating are under constant scrutiny.
There is now greater emphasis than ever on landlords to ensure their buildings are as energy efficient as possible.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is a detailed picture of a building’s energy efficiency and CO2 emissions.
As of April this year, all buildings (minus a few small exceptions) must now meet a minimum EPC rating of E in order to continue to be legally let. Anything falling into the lower F or G categories is no longer viable.
By April 2025, that minimum standard will be raised to C for all new rentals coming on to the market, with all existing rentals expected to reach that standard by 2028. Read the official guidelines here.
Fines for breaching the regulations are also due to be strengthened, with the minimum fine raising from a possible £5k to £30k in the same time period. So how can landlords ensure their buildings are as energy efficient as possible in advance of the changes?
Energy monitoring and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating
Many of the buildings most affected by the changes are likely to be large, older properties, with a diverse range of issues that need to be addressed, so knowing what to do first can be challenging. In order to make big changes to the energy efficiency of a building you need to have a clear idea of what you’re starting with. What is the current energy usage like and where can improvements be made?
Using smart monitoring allows you to do this in much greater depth than simply relying on energy bills alone. Meter readings and bills give an indication of how much energy a site has used in the past month, but they don’t show exactly how and where that energy is being expended.
CT clamps can give you much more granular detail on current use. They attach around the outside of live conductors, such as wires going to different circuits in a fuse box and can be installed with minimal disruption to a site.
What will I gain from monitoring in this way?
- The data collected can be passed straight to the cloud for analysis and storage, without any local IT resources or administration required, and allows you to see areas of particularly high energy usage – for example an outdated HVAC system
- It can also allow you to see areas where the heating is having to be left on, or switched to a higher temperature, due to draughts or insufficient insulation of the building.
- Layering this data with information from other smart sensors such as humidity and temperature sensors gives you an even greater picture of which areas to target first in order to make the biggest difference.
- It takes the guesswork away from your modification work, enabling you to have confidence that you’re tackling the biggest issues, and allowing you to get closer to the target EPC rating more quickly.
Having baseline data to work from will enable you to instantly see the impact of any changes you make, so you can be confident they’re working. It can also help to argue the case for investment in any further improvement works that are needed.
A wealth of benefits
Whilst avoiding fines and reducing carbon emissions is a key part of this work, improving the energy efficiency of your buildings can also lead to many other benefits – not least reduced running costs in the longer-term.
Heating and air-conditioning bills will be significantly lowered in energy efficient buildings, making them a much more attractive proposition to tenants, many of whom will also have legally binding Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) policy and internal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirements to adhere to. Being located in a building that is as energy efficient as possible may not have been something that was on many businesses’ radars five years ago but will now be high on the agendas of most.
Likewise, companies are also increasingly looking to offer their staff a comfortable, healthy space to work in.
Workplace wellbeing is a huge factor in the post-Covid world, with hybrid working here to stay. Employers are having to work hard to lure staff back into the office on the days when they’re not working from home, so offices need to feel comfortable and safe in order to entice people back.
Energy monitoring can be a really valuable tool in helping you to take the first steps towards upgrading the EPC performance of your buildings. It provides the granular data that helps you to make strategic decisions, avoiding time and money being spent on ineffective solutions.
Mark Lawrance, Director of Strategic Accounts