Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
Stuart Turner, National Account Manager at Hamworthy Heating, takes a look at the Energy Act and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
What is it?
The Energy Act 2011 saw the introduction of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), formerly known Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).
These were introduced in April 2018 and tightened minimum energy efficiency requirements and limit the letting of properties with no Energy Performance Certificate Rating (EPC) or buildings with an EPC rating of F and G which have not undergone appropriate energy efficiency measures.
What does it really mean?
Since April 2018, it is unlawful to rent business premises that do not meet the new minimum threshold to new or existing tenants. From 1 April 2023, continuing to let a property with an EPC rating of band F and G will become illegal.
Estimates suggest that 18% of commercial property stock do either not meet the minimum criteria or not have an EPC rating at all. But I believe this is likely to be a much higher percentage in practice.
A more recent report from Arbnco (previously called CO2 Estates), released at the end of March 2017, revealed however, that a third of the commercial building stock which was previously classed as D or E has now dropped to an F- or G-rating upon re-simulation of the 3,500 EPC models in the company’s database. This means those buildings would not meet minimum EPC ratings of E and above anymore, making them possibly unlettable. However, all properties considered in the analysis were from a well-managed building stock, which means poorer performing portfolios could see an even greater percentage drop in EPC ratings.
Who does it affect?
Landlords and occupiers of rented buildings.
What does it affect?
The entire building.
Do people know about the act?
I talk about the act when delivering our Energy Saving CPD and it always sparks off a discussion as most people have not heard about it. We stay ahead of legislation so that we can advise our customers. This is a real opportunity to gain new business from the commercial property sector.
How is it an opportunity?
Consultants can look at their existing customer database to see who rents out buildings and proactively contact them to make an assessment of their properties. Some of the organisations occupying these buildings will be required to undertake an energy audit as part of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) so they may also be looking at ways to reduce their energy consumption.
One of our customers Martin Clarke, Senior Engineer at CBRE Ltd., has already been doing this and commented
“We see this as a huge opportunity to inform and prepare our customers. Some people will have no idea about the act until they renew their lease, by which point it may be too late.
By addressing it now they can plan it into their risk strategy and gradually introduce the most cost-effective measures to improve energy efficiency ratings across their sites. This could be making changes to lighting, heating and the building fabric.”
What can I do to improve my building’s EPC rating?
The design, tender and installation process for commercial boilers this type of building is likely to be at least 3-6 months. A full feasibility study to ensure the building owner gets the most suitable equipment for their property portfolio, practically and financially viable, should be carried out.
For an office building in London with 10,000 sq ft it could equate to £41,500 per month of lost income, should it become unlettable.
Refurbishing an existing heating system does not only improve the EPC rating of a building, it also prevents break downs. More efficient equipment such as condensing boilers and water heaters will also mean lower fuel bills for the landlord and their tenants.
At a glance - The Energy Act & Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
How can Hamworthy help?
We offer a free plant room site survey to assess current heating and hot water equipment and see if there is room for improvement in energy efficiency. If we have access to the current heating bills we also can produce an energy savings calculation. This shows how much could be saved on gas bills by changing boilers and water heaters and how long it will take for the project to pay back.
At a time when we are all tasked with showing return on investment and reducing bills in the long term this can be a powerful tool to gain approval for capital expenditure.
Our Energy Saving CPD covers legislation such as the Energy Act as well as how system and product improvements may reduce energy consumption in commercial premises by up to 35%!