Residential and commercial buildings account for more than 40% of the carbon emissions in the UK.
The Government’s policies are designed to reduce and monitor these emissions.  These measures include the following:

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Since 1st October 2008 an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for every sale or letting of a non-domestic (industrial, office, retail, leisure) property apart from a small number of exceptions (See below).  An EPC is an assessment of a building’s existing and potential energy efficiency.

These assessments are carried out by qualified assessors who appraise the exact dimensions of walls, doors and windows, age, use, lighting and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning) along with their associated controls.  A 3D CAD model is then created and the various U-values applied.  The use of the zone, lighting and HVAC is then added in and the final rating calculated expressed as A to G with A being optimal.

For more information from the Government please read their guide which can be downloaded free here.

What is an EPC?

EPCs tell you how energy efficient a building is on a scale of A-G with G being the worst.  They are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented and are valid for 10 years.


Are any buildings exempt?


  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years.
  • Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres.  If the property joins onto another building such as a flat above or an adjoining shop it is NOT exempt.
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy.  Examples would be a boatyard with no offices or WC (these would be assumed to be heated).
  • Some buildings that are due to be demolished – Consent for redevelopment needs to be granted, not just applied for.
  • Holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy.
  • Residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year.
  • EPCs are not needed for lease renewals or extensions, compulsory purchase orders, sales of shares in a company, which does not involve the sale of the building in which that company is located, where buildings remain in company ownership lease surrenders.
  • There may be other types of transaction that it might be argued do not require an EPC, for example, living accommodation at a workplace and tied to a job, or not-for-value transactions, but this will depend on the individual circumstances of any case.
  • If in doubt please get in touch with us for more advice as the fines for not having an EPC can be punitive.

How quickly do I need an EPC?

Within 7 days of going to the market.  If this is not possible there is a 21 day ‘grace period’.


Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

From April 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out properties which do not fall into the A to E bracket of EPC rating.  This is likely to affect 18% of commercial and 20% of residential properties.  This is beginning to have an effect on rent reviews and bank and portfolio valuations as an F or G rating affects the marketability of the property.


Click here to download our briefing note


SAP and SBEM calculations

Standard Assessment Procedures (SAP) and Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) are required for Part L of a Building Regulations application and use the proposed specification, not normally requiring a site visit.


Display Energy Certificates (DECs)

Display Energy Certificates (DECs) show the actual energy usage for publicly owned buildings and are based on the gas and electricity used, balanced against the heated area of the building.  For the first inspection an Advisory Report (AR) is also produced showing how to improve the energy rating.  A DEC lasts for 1 year and must be updated annually.  The AR lasts for 7 years.


TM44 air-conditioning reports

Since 2011 such reports have been obligatory for buildings with air-conditioning systems over 12kW.  The aim is to identify inefficient units and older equipment using R22 and other banned refrigerants.


Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

This scheme affects companies with more than 250 employees or a turnover in excess of 50m Euros.  These companies were required to review their total energy use including buildings, transport and industrial processes.  This has been compulsory since 29th January 2016.