How To Improve Your Business’ EPC Rating
Saving energy is a key initiative for all business owners looking to cut costs. To succeed in this task, you should monitor and improve the ways how energy is used within your company.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) could provide you with all the information you need to improve your business’ energy efficiency and reduce overheads; it could also help you lower your company’s carbon footprint. Find out how to improve your business’ EPC rating in this informative guide.
What Is An EPC Rating?
An EPC rating provides businesses with an indication of their energy-efficiency. Businesses are graded from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient) and provided with suggestions of ways to improve to reduce energy wastage and cut costs.
All business owners are legally required to obtain a Commercial Energy Performance Certificate for their company unless they have been deemed exempt.
How To Get A Commercial EPC
To get an EPC for your business, you will need to consult a commercial energy assessor. Your size and complexity of your business’ building will influence the cost of the EPC as well as the type of assessor required. Businesses are categorised into different levels, namely:
- Simple buildings – This type of building is often likened to domestic residences. They have recurring characteristics like simple heating systems, natural ventilation and small cooling systems, and can be assessed by level 3 and above accessors.
- Complex buildings – Buildings in this category are characterised by advanced features and unlike simple buildings, they are very dissimilar to domestic properties. Complex buildings usually have advanced heating, ventilation and air-cooling systems (HVAC) and typically need to be assessed by assessors who are trained at level 4 and above.
Do You Need A Commercial EPC?
The government outlines that an EPC is required if:
- The premises are being rented or sold
- The building was under construction but has now been completed.
- Altercations are made to certain parts of the premises for other occupations which involves changes or additions to heating, ventilation and air systems.
Some businesses can be exempt from having to obtain an EPC. This generally depends on the company’s size, purpose and the length of time for which it operates. The following buildings are typically not legally obligated to have an Energy Performance Certificate:
- Detached buildings that have a floor space of below 50 square metres.
- Temporary buildings (planned for use for 2 years or less).
- Places of worship
- Any listed or officially protected building that would be changed in an unsuitable manner if the requirements for EPC were met.
- Industrial sites, non-residential agricultural buildings or workshops which don’t have considerable high energy consumption.
- Buildings that are set to be demolished
Do You Need To Display Your Commercial EPC?
Some businesses are required by law to have their Energy Performance Certificate on show. You should have your EPC fixed to your building if:
- The total floor area is over 500 square metres.
- The establishment is used by the public often.
- An EPC has been produced for the building’s construction, rental or sale.
Any business that fails to comply with these requirements could face a fine of up to £5000; the fine is typically based on the rateable value of the building. You are permitted to appeal this penalty charge if you feel that it has been served unfairly. Find out how to appeal here.
What Are The Benefits Of Improving Your Business’ Commercial EPC?
Improving your business’ EPC could bring the following benefits:
- Lower energy bills – By putting more energy-efficient measures into place, you could reduce the amount of energy that your business consumes and lower your energy bills. This will help your business save money and allow you to invest in other areas.
- Environmental benefits – Energy efficiency and eco-friendliness are big agendas across the world. By improving your business’ EPC and making your company more energy-efficient, you could help to reduce energy wastage and lower carbon emissions, which will ultimately benefit the environment.
- Improved reputation – Both consumers and businesses are becoming increasingly environmentally aware, especially with the UK’s strict climate change targets – there is an objective for us to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Improving your business’ EPC rating could boost your reputation by making consumers and potential clients or partners aware that you’re on board with the efforts to tackle climate change and help the environment. Plus, if your business is required to have its commercial EPC on show, you definitely don’t want to have a low rating.
How Can You Improve Your Commercial EPC?
Improving your commercial EPC can help to reduce business overheads and help you ensure that your company is doing its bit for the environment.
Here are a few ways in which you can improve your business EPC rating:
- Invest in energy-efficient lighting – Replacing standard lightbulbs with LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) can help to reduce energy wastage within your business and lower utility bills. LEDs use 90% less energy than standard bulbs and they’re designed to last significantly longer, so they’re an investment worth making !
Top Tip: You could also invest in lighting sensors to make sure that lights are only used when needed and to prevent energy from being wasted in rooms that aren’t occupied.
- Insulate – Insulating your building’s walls, roof and floors can help to retain heat within the building and make you and your employees less reliant on the heating. This helps to reduce your energy consumption, making your business more efficient and helping to cut costs.
- Make sure your heating is efficient – An inefficient boiler and old radiators can lead to a significant amount of energy wastage. By upgrading your radiators and getting a brand new, A-rated boiler installed, you can make your heating more efficient and get better quality heating and hot water.
Top Tip – Lagging pipes and insulating your hot water cylinder can help to keep water warm for longer periods and reduce the amount of energy needed to heat water.
- Upgrade appliances – Investing in energy-efficient appliances such as ovens, dishwashers, computers and laptops can significantly help to reduce energy wastage and lower your company’s carbon footprint. You should also encourage staff to use these appliances efficiently. Turning electronics off standby mode when they’re not in use, going paperless to reduce printer usage, and even something as simple as only filling the kettle up with the water you need can help to reduce energy wastage.
- Get smart controls – Smart controls enable you to keep track of your business’ energy usage and help you spot areas for efficiency improvement. A smart meter informs you of your energy consumption in real-time, whilst a smart thermostat can provide you with greater control over your business’ heating.
- Choose renewable energy sources – Adding solar panels, wind turbines and/or combined heat and power could help boost your business’ EPC rating as these energy sources emit far fewer greenhouse gasses than fossil fuels. Your business could also profit from these renewables if you apply to government schemes such as the Feed-In-Tariff initiative (this has now been replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee). You could also switch energy suppliers and select a green energy tariff where your electricity usage will be matched with purchases of renewable energy.
- Document improvements – It’s key that you remember to document any improvements you make to your business as failure to provide evidence can prevent them from being acknowledged or included by the accessor. Make a note of u-values, model numbers, airtightness and extraction rates to ensure that these are taken into consideration at your next EPC assessment.
How To Do An Energy Audit On Your Business
A business energy audit can identify changes that could help you reduce your business’ energy consumption. The audit will provide an in-depth report and suggest various energy-saving measures to help your business become more efficient.
Larger companies are legally obligated to get energy audits performed; however, this is not the case for SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). Nevertheless, an energy audit can provide useful information which could benefit your business in the long run. If your business is considered an SME, you could perform a DIY energy audit to find out how you can save energy. Visit our guide on How To Conduct A Simple Business Energy Audit for more information.
Alternatively, if you have a larger business, find out about the government's Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme and get information about your options for business audits.