Author Archives: Nick Miles

Maximising the Commercial EPC Value

If you are responsible for selling a commercial premises then getting, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is merely a formality as part of this process. There are instances however where it is quite valuable to show just how energy efficient the property actually is, and a higher rating could make potential tenants or new owner much happier.

In domestic properties the leases tend to be quite short unlike commercial properties where the lease periods are over a long-time, so there is an incentive to have good quality insulated properties that will keep energy costs down for the duration of the tenure. If the property is already energy efficient then large scale changes don’t have to be made. For example, LED lighting is always a quick win and even if the property fabric is well insulated, having the lighting fitted out could produce further benefits to the occupiers.

How does an EPC rating increase?

The Commercial EPC process is all about information – the more information that is available and entered into the software the more comprehensive the end output and the more accurate the EPC rating. The energy assessor will often rely on information that is provided by the current occupier or the building services manager, otherwise they will just go on what they see in front of them on the day of the survey.

When carrying out the Commercial EPC the surveyor will simply turn up to the property and record evidence physically witnessed on the day. If this information is the only data gathered and very little else provided then, the rating is going to be fairly poor. The model of the heating and cooling systems might not be available, in which case the default values will be assumed.

Where there is actual wall insulation (cavity or cladding), but because the insulation is hidden behind a stud wall or is cladded over with render then no insulation must be assumed. The bad news is that although great things may be in place (superb insulation, a great HVAC system, etc) with insufficient information the EPC rating is going to be very low. Having said all this; the assessor is carrying out the right process but is sometimes limited on what they can process.

Helping your assessor maximising the accuracy of the EPC

At the start of the process, the assessor will send out a pre-visit questionnaire, which should be a pretty comprehensive document. It will go into detail in what should you provide? Here are some of the key pieces of information that may be asked for:

Building fabric u-values

If you have had insulation or new windows installed, you should hopefully have the u-values information that has been provided by the manufacturer and/ or installer. These values can be put straight into the software instead of using assumptions that would otherwise just be the default. Lower u-values, mean better heat retention for the property and this should result in a better Commercial EPC rating in the majority of scenarios.

Model numbers for HVAC units

You will be asked for make and model numbers for heating, air-conditioning, heat recovery and ventilation units. These building services are the emitting elements within building and if the information about them is available, it should allow the surveyor to enter them into the software. If the models are unknown or there is a lack of information the default low performance values will be entered into the software.

Commercial Lighting

As mentioned at the beginning of the blog, the lighting also makes an impact on the energy rating of the property. It is never easy to tell the exact type of light fitting without seeing a lamp up close. If possible, have a spare bulb from each of your light fixture types handy for the assessor on the day. This will help make sure they enter your high performance lighting rather than poor performance defaults.

Hopefully this section was a clue on some of the information that the assessor requires. The more detail that is provided the more accurate the final output will be. The most important factors are the fabric, heating and cooling, and this could make the difference of 3 or 4 efficiency bands, whilst other factors like controls and lighting will be smaller – only affecting the rating by a few points.

What is the key information required to issue the EPC?

Interestingly the energy assessor can issue an EPC without all of this information, but there are some things that they will need to see and they will be unable even to issue a certificate if they are unable to access the property to gather evidence. The assessor needs to access the majority of the property, including all the zones to take measurements. The assessor will need to see things like your meters and your controls up close and assess the type of occupancy to be assigned to each zone. Some HVAC systems might involve accessing parts of the property that will require facility management supervision and it is the customer’s responsibility to arrange this for the assessor before the site visit takes place.

For systems that have not been installed yet (in a fit out of a building shell for example) the assessor cannot issue an EPC until the system is in place – they can however produce a ‘model’ which will show your theoretical EPC rating once the installation takes place.

As you can see – absolutely vital to supply the best information you can if you want the best and most accurate rating on your Commercial EPC!

If you would like to have a quotation for a Commercial EPC then please get in touch and we should be able to help.

The Key Elements of a Commercial EPC

It is fair to say that domestic EPC‘s are pretty well understood – most houses have had one carried out by now because quite a few properties have exchanged hands (rented out or sold) as well as being produced for Government approved energy saving funding schemes (Green Deal or ECO). Commercial EPC‘s are less widely carried out, mainly because the reasons for having them crop up much less often, but also the levels of avoidance are much higher (currently being monitored and stamped out by the local authorities).

When is a Commercial EPC required?

You will need a commercial EPC on your premises if you are trying to carry out one of the following:

  • Selling the property
  • Renting out the property
  • Building a property
  • Claiming government funding for Feed in Tariff’s
  • Signing off the construction of a new build property

Commercial vs. Domestic EPC

The obvious point is that a commercial EPC is carried out an a commercial property rather than residential and there are some fundamental differences in how the survey is carried out.

A commercial EPC looks at how each area of the building is used or ‘zoned’. For example by zoning the property you can allocate the activities such as office space, dining areas, storage or production areas to the EPC report. A domestic assessment purely looks at the fabric of the building – what type of wall and the area of the space with assumptions about activities, average temperature and occupants. This means that a commercial EPC can fundamentally change in value depending on its used, whilst a domestic EPC will not change with different occupiers. Slightly aside unlike a domestic Green Deal Assessment the commercial EPC makes no inferences on energy usage.

Commercial EPCs look into all types of building structures – as long as they have a shell and core and can be conditioned it can be assessed. On the other hand a domestic property always has a bathroom, bedrooms, a living room and kitchen. A commercial property could have any number of different possible rooms, some the size of aircraft hangers and some little cubicles, some heated and some only partially heated. This huge variety makes the assessment process much broader with many more things to consider. It means there is a much wider range of possible heating, ventilation and cooling systems.

Key information on Assessor Qualifications

The variety means that there are assessors for different types of building – the accreditation goes from level 3 to level 5 non-domestic energy assessors. The vast majority of assessors are qualified to level 4, which allows them to produce EPCs for most properties in the country. Level 5 assessors are the only ones allowed to produce certificates on complex properties with large atria and curved structures. For most customers this won’t be an issue, but if you have a very unusual property, you may need to pay more for a level 5 assessor – there aren’t that many around the country as the demand is not very high!

Producing the Commercial EPC output is not the same

The process to produce a commercial EPC is much less automated. Over the years, the domestic EPC has been refined by the various accrediting bodies, and various streamlined software produced to allow the EPC to be carried out quickly and simply. The commercial EPC is currently a smaller market, and that has meant the various software and support has lagged behind. Air Handling Unit on the RoofConsequently commercial EPCs are much more time consuming for the assessor and will cost more to produce. You could expect your assessor to be on site for hours, and in some cases may need to revisit another day.

They will also ask for a number of different types of documentation on the building and the building services, so be prepared to provide specs on the HVAC systems, floor plans, planning documentation, details on any renewable installations and any number of other pieces of information that the assessor may not be able to ascertain themselves from a site visit.

Cost of a Commercial EPC

Cost is one really big difference. Domestic EPCs, even for the biggest of properties, should cost well under £100, with some companies offering them for under £50. Commercial EPCs are much more expensive, with starting prices for smaller properties starting at £100-150 and larger properties costing several hundred. The largest and most complex properties could cost you thousands. You are much more likely to find wildly different prices in the commercial sector also, with the competition not quite the same.

Differences in Quality of Commercial EPC Assessors

So there are a few things to consider with a commercial EPC that you wouldn’t have to think about with a domestic assessment. The key thing is to make sure you provide your assessor with as much information as they require, and allow them access to the whole property. This will ensure that you get a more accurate reflection of your property. The more information you provide, the less the assessor will have to assume default values (these are always poor and will produce a much lower rating on your EPC) and the higher your EPC is going to be.

Give us a call if you have any queries about your commercial premises – or simply fill out the form on the top right of the page. We also carry out a fantastic commercial EPC service and we believe you won’t go wrong in choosing London-EPC to be your assessor.

Commercial EPC to access the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT)

Looking to get the feed-in tariff (FiT) for your renewable generation system? If you are a company, a public body or if your organisation is classified outside the remit of a domestic property then you will need have a few elements ticked off before you are benefiting from this Government subsidy. Just like a domestic property, you will need a valid EPC to get the payments registered for the system that is installed.

Just to note the FiT can be paid out against various renewable electricity generation technologies, including solar PV, micro-hydroelectric, wind turbines and CHP systems.

Differences for businesses claiming the Feed In Tariff (FiT)

From the start of the process there don’t appear to be any real distinctions made for businesses applying for the tariff, but there are several points that are more likely to apply to a commercial over a residential application, and they are summarised below:

  • You will need a commercial EPC rather than a domestic EPC if you are getting the panels on a commercial premises, school, place of worship or any other non-domestic building;
  • The rates paid as part of the generation tariff decrease with larger systems;
  • Businesses with multiple installations at various sites may receive a reduced rate.

What is a commercial EPC?

A commercial EPC is a certificate issued to a non-domestic property, giving the property an energy rating and an outline of energy efficiency improvements that could be carried out, as highlighted in the recommendation report. The cost of the EPC will vary depending on the type and size of the property, and they are a little different and generally more expensive than a domestic EPC.

How much can I earn from the Feed in Tariff?

A commercial property is more likely to have a larger PV or a hydroelectric system than a domestic property. Related to solar PV the property will often be larger and have bigger roof space (although not always) and it will often require more energy than a domestic property, especially during daylight hours when PV is most effective and tends to be used on-site.

Imagine an office block running air-conditioning all day and other office equipment to service the day-to-day running of the business. Clearly there is much more energy used used here than an average domestic property, especially during daylight hours when most people are at work! It means that a system like solar PV is a great option for businesses, and the larger the system the more energy that can be saved from not having to buy from the grid.

To access the latest solar PV FiT rates – for standard, lower and the export tariff please click onto the latest table on the OFGEM website.

To access the latest solar PV FiT rates – for standard, lower and the export tariff please click onto the latest table on the OFGEM website.

Just like with domestic properties, you will need a D rating or higher on your EPC to get the standard FiT rate. If your EPC is lower, you will only get the lower rate (refer to the detailed OFGEM tables). This is not applicable for wind turbines.

The rates go down appreciably with larger systems, but they are very large systems. You need about 4 panels to generate a kW of power, so anything over a 16 panel system is likely to fall in to the 4-10kW range. You would need 40 meter square panels to get up to a 10kW system, at a cost of around £15,000 or more, so chances are most business will fall into the 2 lower tiers, unless you have some serious roof space.

Do solar PV systems work for business?

Solar pays back within 8-10 years of installation, which usually falls within the period businesses would consider worthwhile. For some businesses who would use close to 100% of the energy generated (I.e. those with high base loads during daylight hours such as offices and shops), the payback may be even quicker. Unfortunately, the feed in tariff is paid over 20 years, for both residential properties and business – which most businesses don’t tend to budget for. There are plenty of businesses that will benefit however, so give us a call and see if it is worth getting solar pv for your business.

How Long Is My EPC Report Valid For?

A residential Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is valid for a period of 10 years, should you wish to use it to sell or rent your property. An EPC report since their birth back in 2008 are not only used for property transactions for other things such as claiming the feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar PV systems or claiming a subsidy on a new biomass boiler via the RHI.

An EPC is meant to be a representative score on the energy efficiency performance of a domestic property. The higher thef score, the more energy efficient it is, with the average in the UK being 60/100, which puts in Band D on the energy efficiency scale (A to G). EPC reports since 2008, have had periodic changes in how they are calculated, with big changes going through in 2012 and in 2014, so even if you didn’t do anything to a property in terms of improving it, the values given by the EPC may well now be different today than when they were commissioned a few years ago.

Why is the age of the EPC important?

The process of deriving the EPC score has also improved over time, with assessors now required to spend more time in the property and take extra diligence in deriving their finished output. Also, the customers have got more knowledgeable about the process of an EPC being produced and don’t generally stand for descriptive discrepancies on their final reports, whereas in the past certain assessors produced shoddy pieces of work.

To claim the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) voucher from the Government to essentially get money off energy efficiency improvements like wall insulation, boilers and glazing improvements, the EPC needs to be at least 2 years old.

For Green Deal Finance or ECO subsidy claims many suppliers in the market are asking customers to have EPCs that may not be more than 6 months old. For ECO in most cases you won’t need to do anything as the company providing the funding for loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or a new boiler should provide this for free as part of the funded service.

You may think having to constantly have a new EPC is a bit excessive on the Government’s part and is probably a way round the 10 year rule indirectly (asking consumers to have a new one created); in reality many of these schemes have a valid point, given that so much in the EPC framework has been updated over time. If you as a householder update your boiler, have your cavity walls filled or swap out your lighting for LED, all those changes will cause the parameters of when your initial EPC was created to materially change. With these material changes coming through it makes sense to have a more accurate EPC report.

EPC for the FiT and RHI

For a renewable technology system subsidy claim, whether it is for the FiT or the RHI you will need to have an EPC undertaken. For solar PV claims under the FiT, you should be ok on the age of the EPC as long as the rating on is shown as band D or better. For biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal systems you will have to have a full Green Deal Assessment, which means that you have to provide both the EPC and the Occupancy Assessment Reports. The Green Deal Reports only really came in January 2013, which means that it is very likely that you will have a new EPC done with that service. A Green Deal Report can be created with an existing EPC, but most assessors will recommend having a brand new one created for the full assessment.

The other reason, the RHI is more stringent is that the Government doesn’t want to be paying out the subsidy without the right amounts of insulation going into the property. Obviously with all this process you will have a much more accurate and relevant EPC.

Do I need to have my EPC redone?

The answer depends on what you are doing. If you are selling a property then you may want to have a new EPC done, just so as to provide the potential buyer with the best energy performance advice; but otherwise as long as it is within the 10 year period it should be absolutely fine. Obviously if the EPC is already under 24 months old, then we would suggest you sit tight unless you have made major alterations to the property. If you have just put in a new boiler with solid wall insulation, you may want to commission a brand new one, which will give a higher score to the property.

10 years since the first EPCs

If you had your EPC done in 2007 when they were first introduced, it will now need renewing. EPCs are only valid for a maximum of 10 years.

MEES: New EPC regulations for landlords

As of April 2018, any tenancies longer than 6 months being granted or renewed will hinge on whether the property has an EPC rating of ‘E’ or higher. Landlords are liable to pay a hefty fine if they do not adhere to the regulations. Read more here.

If you require a brand new EPC is London or you are looking for a Green Deal Assessment for the RHI, then look no further than London EPC as the premier supplier for this service. Email us today: or call 0208 133 3849, prices start at only £65 +VAT.