VIVE L’ACCORD DE PARIS!
It’s been almost two years since the Paris Agreement was signed. In it, more than 196 parties (countries or principalities) agreed to keep global warming increases over the course of this century well below 2% more than pre-industrial levels.
What’s that got to do with you? Well, part of the actions taken to achieve the Agreement’s goal involve managing greenhouse gas emissions. That means, among other things, managing energy use. And that’s partly where new government legislations and regulations that affect energy management in commercial properties are coming from.
Section 63 in Scotland
The Scottish Government introduced Section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act in September 2016. Broadly speaking, it applies to owners of commercial buildings or units with floorspace of more than 1000sqm, who are intending to sell or to create a new lease.
The process begins with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which you must make available to prospective tenants or buyers. The EPC assessment process identifies if Section 63 also applies to you. If it does, you need to undergo another, separate Section 63 assessment.
Once completed, that assessment creates a Section 63 Action Plan that you must either put into practice and complete within three and a half years, or defer by posting an annual display energy certificate (DEC) in your property. Ultimately, though, you’ll have to take some form of action to improve energy efficiency and emissions.
How we can help
It doesn’t take much to get your property into line with legislation. We’ll be able to advise you, in the first place, of the legislation that applies and the actions you need to take. Then we can carry out those actions quickly and efficiently, protecting you from fines and providing you with clear, transparent, fixed costs.
MEES in England
In England and Wales, commercial buildings for sale or lease also require EPCs, grading the property from A to G, and offering recommendations for improvement. As with their Scottish counterparts, EPCs place no obligation on the building owner to take further action.
In April 2018, that all changes. Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) will apply to all commercial landlords, and will actually forbid new, extended or renewed leases on commercial properties with F or G ratings. Sellers will still be able to complete sales, but commercial landlords will have to carry out improvements before they can issue or renew leases.
Fines for non-compliance are vary from £1,000 – £150,000, depending on the rateable value and type of property. And anyone registering false or misleading information to achieve exemption could face fines up to £5,000.
Simple steps to improving energy efficiency
You can avoid some of the stress attached to EPC and Section 63/MEES legislation by taking some very simple steps to improving energy efficiency in your unit:
- Draughtproofing doors and windows and insulating roof space
- Install sensors to switch lighting on and off as needed and use energy efficient bulbs or lamps
- Timers for central heating so it’s not on when it doesn’t have to be
- Keep your hot water boiler in good condition and well insulated to reduce the energy it needs to consume