We have looked at how to get an A on a domestic property, but now we take a look at commercial buildings and how to get the energy rating up here.

Typical A-rated property

To give you some idea of a commercial property that reaches an A, you will need the following as a minimum:

  • Current building standard levels of insulation in the walls, roof and floor.
  • Current building standard windows and doors.
  • Documentation proving all of the above meet these criteria, preferably with u-value calculations.
  • Modern heating system with heating controls.
  • LED or equivalent lighting, ideally with a lighting design for the building identifying the wattage and lux values for each space.
  • Some renewable energy installation. The size will be relative to the size of the building.

Getting an A on a commercial property is fairly standard for a new build – it is what’s expected. Retrofitting a property to these levels is going to be very expensive, however.

New Builds and A Ratings

In order to pass their Part L sign off, a new build has to meet some very high energy efficiency standards. We regularly carry out Part L surveys for new builds and can tell you that passing this is pretty much equivalent to getting an A rating. Even where the building regulations have been followed precisely, there are times when we have to go back and forth with the client trying to add every detail into the software in order to get over the line and reach that A rating.

In order to retrofit a building up to these standards, you are going to have to make some very big increases in insulation as well as changes to the heating and lighting in many cases. Solar or wind is going to be required as well, and probably fairly significantly to make up for any areas that cannot be upgraded elsewhere.

Recommendations Report

Just like with a domestic property, we can produce a recommendations report to let you know exactly what you need to do to reach your desired efficiency levels. Because commercial properties are a little more involved, we can produce a more in depth report for you with various scenarios analysed and costed to give you the best path to efficiency.

Is it worth getting a higher rating?

Whilst it is admirable to strive for better energy performance, and savings are likely to be made in many places, you will need to carefully consider how you want to go about any upgrade work. There are several approaches: you can take a purely economic view and only make upgrades that pay for themselves in a given payback period, you could go beyond this and make upgrades that may not payback quickly but will befit the company or building in other ways, such as PR for example, or you could make wholesale changes to the building and incorporate energy saving measures as part of a larger project, making the payback better than with specific standalone upgrades. Again, this can be discussed with an assessor as part of a recommendations report survey.