Government urged to clarify commercial EPC targets

With commercial building owners waiting more than two years for feedback to a consultation on new MEES for the sector and ongoing uncertainty over future regulations, the government has been urged to publish its full response.

Related topics:  EPC,  Government,  Commercial
Property | Reporter
10th August 2023
Gov 99
"We hear repeatedly from commercial property owners that the lack of regulatory certainty is one of the biggest barriers to decarbonising buildings"

The British Property Federation is calling for Government to publish without delay a response to the 2021 consultation on new minimum energy efficiency standards for commercial property owners.

The property sector is already investing heavily and working together to decarbonise, but this needs to be accompanied by clear policy and regulation by government.

The delay in publishing a response to the consultation has already made the proposed interim milestone of EPC C by 2027 unrealistic and any additional delay risks undermining work to deliver the longer-term target of EPC B by 2030.

According to research from Savills, 87% of office stock has an EPC rating of C or below, and more than 1 billion sq. ft. across the UK is below the proposed minimum EPC B.

Recent comments around minimum energy efficiency standards for the domestic private rented sector have fuelled further uncertainty, according to the BPF. The Government has said it will delay new energy efficiency targets for privately rented homes in response to the additional pressures that this would place on landlords.

The BPF is calling on Government to publish a full response to the 2021 consultation. The response needs to:

- Confirm the timelines for new minimum energy efficiency standards

- Provide clarity on the rules around exemptions and enforcement

- Provide information on the split of responsibilities between owners and occupiers

- Confirm payback arrangements and the obligations associated with listed buildings.

The BPF also note that EPCs are an imperfect tool for understanding the in-use energy performance of buildings and, alongside setting new EPC targets, is calling for clarity from the government on the introduction of a performance-based rating scheme for large commercial and industrial buildings, as also proposed in 2021.

Rob Wall, Assistant Director, British Property Federation, said: “Commercial real estate accounts for more than 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. As such, we have a critical role to play when it comes to tackling climate change.

“We support new minimum energy efficiency standards for the sector, but the Government needs to send a clear signal to the market now about the long-term direction of travel. It is more than two years since the consultation closed and commercial landlords are still in the dark about exactly what the new standards will be and how new regulations will be implemented and enforced.

"We hear repeatedly from commercial property owners that the lack of regulatory certainty is one of the biggest barriers to decarbonising buildings.

"The uncertainty over future MEES regulations is part of this and is holding back investment into energy efficiency measures and undermining efforts to make our buildings greener and cleaner. The Government needs to publish a response to the 2021 consultation as soon as possible.”

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