When it comes to non-domestic EPCs, most properties are relatively easy to access and survey. Warehouses, offices and shops will generally be open during working hours, and there’s usually someone available to open up for the survey if not. However, with certain properties there can be issues surrounding access – schools and nurseries are a prime example of these situations.
EPCs and Accessibility: Working Around Business Hours
When carrying out an EPC, it’s essential to be able to take photos in and around the property. Earlier this year, we were called out to undertake an EPC on a nursery in the Streatham area, and because of the various sensitivities around a school/nursery environment, the only way we could do this was out of school hours. This particular nursery closed at 6pm, so we travelled to Streatham for an evening site visit.
Nursery EPC Ratings: Feed-in Tariff Eligibility?
The nursery was in the process of having solar PV installed, and wanted to know their rating in order to apply for the feed-in tariff. However, the fact that the nursery was connected to a church further complicated matters, as the owners wanted to know if they could apply for the feed-in tariff on the church as well. Places of worship are exempt from EPC requirements, but the nursery is not. If applying for the feed in tariff, the church would need to meet EPC rating requirements.
A D rating is required to meet the requirements of the higher rate feed in tariff, but this is often very difficult for older buildings such as a church.
We discussed the issues with the client and agreed to carry out separate draft EPCs for the church and the nursery in order to determine if either would be eligible for the grant. Following the visit, the data was entered into the software and drafts generated.
Nursery vs. Church EPC ratings
As expected, the old draughty church scored badly with a G rating, meaning that even with improvements such as new lighting, it would be very difficult to make the PV system viable. Nevertheless, the nursery came out to a D rating, meaning it was eligible for higher rate FIT.
The end result meant that the client could confidently go ahead with installing their panels safe in the knowledge that the nursery met all the efficiency standards for the higher rate FIT.