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How To Improve Commercial EPC Rating

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A commercial energy performance certificate (EPC) rating is a mandatory document in the UK that represents a non-residential building’s energy efficiency rating – meaning how much energy is used versus lost through walls, windows, etc. It provides a rating on a scale between A and G. In today’s UK, buildings with higher ratings are more sought after than those with lower ratings, due to the many benefits of high EPC ratings. 

So, how do you improve your building’s EPC rating? In this guide, we will review the methodology required to improve EPC ratings across the board, so your building can experience heightened energy efficiency and demand. 

How do I find my current Commercial EPC Rating? 

First thing first – getting your current commercial EPC Rating. You should visit the official government website that holds this information is found at “https://www.epcregister.com/home.html”. From there, you can enter your property’s address and the report reference number.  

If you don’t have your report reference number, it can be difficult to re-attain it. Double-check records such as your property transactions, any previous energy efficiency upgrades or correspondence with utility companies/energy advisors. Emails, in particular, are likely your best bet at finding your reference. Nonetheless, your EPC is key if you want to improve your EPC rating. 

What is in my Commercial EPC Rating Certificate? 

Your certificate will have the following information: 

  • EPC Rating – Your rating from A to G will be listed here. C is considered average, whereas A is considered as energy-efficient as you can get. 
  • Energy Use Summary – This section will feature a breakdown of estimated energy costs from the typical usage of the building. 
  • Recommendations – This is perhaps one of the most useful pieces of information on the report/certificate. It will highlight the shortcomings of your building and how to further improve energy efficiency through a variety of methods, some of which are short-term, and others long. Nonetheless, following these recommendations is a surefire way to raise your rating. Some of these upgrades can include insulation, lighting upgrades, heating system updates etc. 
  • Additional Information – The report will also include the date of assessment, type of property, floor area and the name of the energy assessors. 

How do I improve my Commercial Energy Performance Certificate? 

Many people ask us how to improve EPC rating(s). The greatest advice, however, is to follow the recommendations. This is because these are highlights that the government guarantees will increase energy efficiency, and are likely weak spots in your building. 

Nonetheless, we will continue to detail the top three ways to improve your EPC rating. If you had all three of these, then getting a Rank A should be a given. 

Heating System Upgrades

The main issue that surrounds your energy performance certificate rating is how well heat is retained. A lot of heating systems today are outdated with low energy efficiency. By ensuring that the Heating system upgrades can be anything from modern, condensing boilers that achieve 90% efficiency, or heat pumps. 

Pros

  • Reduced Operating Costs – Energy-efficient systems use far less fuel. This allows you to save a lot of money on what you spend on heat. 
  • Comfort – A lot of modern systems can provide better temperature control and consistent warmth, increasing the level of comfort for any occupants. 
  • Government Incentives – There are a lot of government incentives, such as ECO4, that provide grants towards heat pumps.

Cons

  • Upfront Investment – A new modern boiler is expensive enough, but a heat pump is wildly expensive. You can expect to pay a high cost no matter what. Though you will save what you’d otherwise spend over time on energy bills, it won’t be for over several years before it pays for itself. 
  • Disruption – Entirely new heating systems will put the building out of commission for a while, depending on the specific upgrade. 
  • Space Requirements – Heat pumps in particular will require a dedicated space to operate and be protected.
  • Suitability – Some buildings don’t have compatibility. 

Costs

Not including installation, you can expect the following price ranges: 

  • Energy Efficient Boilers – £2,000 – £6,000
  • Air-Source Heat Pumps – £8,000 – £18,000
  • Ground-Source Heat Pumps – £15,000 – £35,000

Insulation Improvements

Insulation improvements involve adding material within the area of improvement, which can be wall insulation, roof/loft insulation, floors etc. Heat will always escape the home through one of these areas, but insulation can slow the rate of this heat transfer, ensuring that you use more of your heat for less. 

Pros

  • Reduced Heat Loss – By reducing the amount of heat that escapes your building, you can essentially keep the property warmer for less heat. Uninsulated walls waste a lot of your energy by losing it, making even the most energy-efficient boilers inefficient. 
  • Lower Energy Bills – If you use less energy, then it stands to reason that your energy bills will be cut by a substantial amount in the long term. Insulation can save £’s. 
  • Inexpensive – Compared to many of the options in this list, some types of wall insulation are low-cost investments – especially if it’s applied during the building stage. Depending on your walls, this is the most cost-effective way to improve your EPC rating.
  • Potential Grants – Again, the UK has released grants towards the overall cost of many insulation types, such as lofts and walls. 

Cons

  • Limited Post-Construction – After construction, it can be harder to get access to the areas in which insulation would most matter, especially for walls. 

Costs 

  • Loft/Roof – £300 – £1000 
  • Cavity Wall Insulation – £500 – £1,500
  • Solid Wall Insulation – £8,000 – £20,000

Glazing Improvements

Similar to the previous insulation measures, glazing is much the same – only with windows. Double or triple-glazing windows consist of two or three panes of glass respectively, each with air or argon gas infused between them. This slows down the heat transfer by a large amount.

Pros

  • Reduced Heat Loss – Single-glazing windows are poor barriers against heat transfer. A double-glazed window cuts 75% of heat transfer, and a triple-glazed unit cuts it down to 90%. Overall, glazing acts as an energy-efficient barrier.
  • Lower Energy Bills – As with all the other improvements, less heat loss equals less energy bills. 
  • Enhanced Comfort – Improved glazing will reduce drafts and cold spots near windows. 
  • Noise Reduction – Not an often talked about point of glazing, but it also blocks a lot of incoming sound from the outside, which will promote comfort as well as improve your EPC rating.

Cons

  • Listed Buildings – When it comes to listed buildings and conservation areas, glazing may be disallowed. 

Costs 

  • Double Glazing 
    • UPVC Frame – £300 – £600
    • Timber Frame – £500 – £900
    • Aluminium Frame – £400 – £800
  • Triple Glazing
    • UPVC Frame – £500 – £600
    • Timber Frame – £700 – £1,200
    • Aluminium Frame – £600 – £1,000

Conclusion

There are a multitude of ways to improve a property’s EPC rating, some more effective than others, but all of which will have some impact on heating bills for those who reside or work there. Aside from the insulation improvements that can be made, a heating system upgrade, such as installing renewable energy sources like heat pumps, or even installing solar panels, can be a significant investment that will make a marked difference to a commercial property’s energy efficiency and EPC rating. This will also impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions.

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