Commonly asked questions about Commercial Energy Performance Certificates EPC

What is an EPC and what does it mean?
Why have Energy Performance Certificates been introduced?
How long are EPCs valid for?
How do I know if my building requires an Energy Performance Certificate?
What happens if you do not have an Energy Performance Certificate?
What regulations govern Energy Performance Certificates?

What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and what does it mean?
The EPC looks broadly similar to the energy labels now provided with vehicles and many household appliances. Its purpose is to indicate how energy efficient a building is. The certificate will provide an energy rating of the building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least efficient. The better the rating, the more energy efficient the building is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. The energy performance of the building is shown as a carbon dioxide (CO2) based index.

Each energy rating is based on the characteristics of the building itself (the fabric) and its services (such as heating, ventilation and lighting). Hence this type of rating is known as an asset rating.  Please note although the use the property is put to has an effect on the outcome the machinery or appliances used within it do not.

The EPC includes a separate Recommendation Report that lists cost effective and other measures such as low and zero carbon generating systems (heat pumps & solar panels) to improve energy rating. Each recommendation has its impact graded as High, Medium or Low. There is no statutory requirement to carry out any of the recommended energy efficiency measures stated.

Why have Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) been introduced?
Buildings represent a significant opportunity for carbon abatement in the UK – The energy we use in them is responsible for nearly half of the country’s emissions. Domestic dwellings are important but so are offices, shops, factories, public houses etc – They make up 18% of emissions and because they are usually bigger than domestic properties, energy efficiency measures are more cost effective.

How long are EPCs valid for?
An EPC is valid for 10 years or until a newer EPC is produced for the same building. 

How do I know if my building requires an Energy Performance Certificate?

If you are selling or letting any building (with a roof and walls) that uses energy to condition the indoor climate (i.e. heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation) then you will need an EPC. There are exemptions (see below).
Commercial buildings can be complex with floors let to different tenants and with a mixture of retail, office and residential accommodation. Please contact Aston Energy for a definitive answer but as a guide, if a building has separate parts with separate heating systems then an EPC should be prepared for each part of the building that is being sold or let. Any separate residential accommodation that is self-contained will require its own Domestic EPC. Please note residential space that can be accessed internally via commercial premises (i.e. a flat above a shop) will be assessed with the commercial premises as a single building and as a commercial EPC.

If a building is to be let without fixed services “shell and core basis” but the intention is that fixed services will be installed then the EPC will be based on the building use class granted by planning and activities applied that are typical of that use. The most energy intensive fit-out will have to be adopted in line with Part L of the Building Regulations in force when the building was built.

For buildings being modified to have more or less parts that are designed to be used separately then an EPC is only required if the fixed services (heating, ventilation and or air con) are changed.
Situations where an EPC is not required.
EPCs are not required on construction, sale or rent for:
•    places of worship;
•    temporary buildings with a planned time of use less than two years;
•    stand alone (entirely detached) buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 sq.m. that are not dwellings;
•    non-conditioned industrial sites and workshops or non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand;
•    on sale or rent for buildings due to be demolished
•    listed buildings and historic monuments (see for confirmation of listing).

Transactions not considered a sale or rent
•    lease renewals or extensions, compulsory purchase orders, lease surrenders, sales of shares in a company, where buildings remain in company ownership.

What happens if you do not have an Energy Performance Certificate?

Before a building is put on the market the seller or landlord must commission an EPC for the building if no valid EPC exists already for it. A person acting on behalf of the seller or landlord (for example, the estate or letting agent) must be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned for the building before it is put on the market.
 The penalty for failing to make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant when selling or renting a non-dwelling is fixed, in most cases, at 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the building, with a default penalty of £750 where the formula cannot be applied. The range of penalties under this formula are set with a minimum of £500 and capped at a maximum of £5,000. A further penalty can be issued for failure to provide a copy of the EPC when requested to an officer of an enforcement authority within seven days. This is fixed at £200. Trading Standards Officers are responsible for enforcing the requirement. It is the seller or landlord or a person acting on their behalf (i.e. estate or letting agent) that is liable.

What regulations govern Energy Performance Certificates?
The EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings came into effect progressively from 2007. Its implementation remains an important part of the strategy to tackle climate change. The current requirements are set out in the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012, which came into effect on 9 January 2013 and the Building Regulations 2010.

The principle underlying the Directive and the regulations is to make energy efficiency of buildings transparent by using an energy performance certificate (EPC) to show the energy rating of a building. Any building coming on the market must have a certificate commissioned within 7 days of marketing. If it cannot be demonstrated that an EPC is lodged on the Non-Domestic EPC Register within 28 days of marketing. Trading Standards will impose a fine.