Government promises ‘dramatic’ improvement in commercial energy efficiency

The UK Government has promised the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that they will introduce new plans intended to “dramatically” improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in the private rented sector.

The CCC had urged that a binding target should be setfor all rented non-residential properties to hit Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band B by 2030. Currently, commercial landlords are required only to ensure that new leases are at minimum D standard.

The rules could usher in a new generation of greener office and commercial buildings, while cutting carbon emissions equivalent of 500,000 homes, the government has told the CCC. It is committing to “go further and faster to tackle climate change”.

In addition, a formalconsultation this summer willalso consider introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for all business buildings, in an attempt to get businesses to crack down on wasteful energy use.

One option initially promoted by former Conservative Prime MinisterDavid Cameron would be to expand the use of Display Energy Certificates (DECs) into the private sector. For the past 12 years, all public sector buildingsover 500m2 to which the public has access, have been required to display” in a prominent place” details of progress in reducing actual energy-use.

Whereas all EPCs only measure theoretical energy usage, many property professionals have long argued that DECs tell a more accurate story on energy efficiency, since these are entirely based on a building’s actual fuel use.

There are also considerable concerns regarding the failure by local councils’ trading standards departmentsto enforce the provision of EPCs for rental properties. Because DECs are by definition far more visible, it is reckoned to be more difficult for these to escape purposeful oversight.

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