April will see the introduction of new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)that will make it unlawful to let commercial and domestic buildings in England and Wales which do not achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’.
Why does this matter? The government estimates that almost one-in-five commercial properties currently hold the lowest EPC ratings of F or G. EPCs are legally required for all public and private buildings and assign an efficiency rating from A to G.
The built environment has been identified by government as a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, contributing around 34 per cent of the UK total.
Non-domestic buildings account for nearly 25 per cent of the UK’s overall carbon emissions and heat in buildings accounts for a substantial proportion of this. As more are built and refurbished, the installation of energy efficient, cost-effective products must be a top priority – especially if the UK is to meet the ambitious carbon reduction targets for 2020 and 2050.
So, are you ready for the new rules?
The regulations will first apply to new domestic and non-domestic lettings and lease renewals from April 2018, to be followed by all existing non-domestic leases by 1st April 2023.
However, savvy building managers are taking steps to not only meet this minimum standard but to exceed it in preparation for a likely future tightening of the regulations.
Here we take a look at the steps you can take to upgrade to your heating system and boost building energy efficiency ratings in the process.
The latest heating technology can help you achieve some easy wins when it comes to energy efficiency and heat emitters should be a first port of call. When compared to other heating upgrades, such as replacing an old boiler, switching your radiators to more efficient models is relatively low cost and can be done fairly quickly. Low-mass, low water content radiators contain a tenth of the water compared to a standard steel panel radiator, resulting in a faster response time and providing up to a 16 per cent reduction in energy costs. Buildings which are fitted with this technology also produce much lower carbon emissions due to the reduced energy used, helping designers and engineers meet their carbon reduction targets.
Another innovative radiator technology is fan assisted DBE (Dynamic Boost Effect).
This improves airflow and boosts heat output, allowing Jaga radiators to work efficiently with sustainable low-flow temperature systems, such as heat pumps.
Heat pumps are estimated to reduce electricity use (and cost) for heating by around 50 per cent compared to electric resistance heaters. They are extremely efficient and, when utilised properly, can also provide excellent thermal comfort. With added support from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariff payments for ground source and air source heat pumps, it seems inevitable that the uptake of these technologies will continue to grow steadily.
Taking action now
It can often be a challenge to keep on top of the latest energy efficiency regulations but the April deadline for MEES should be seen as a priority. Civil penalties of up to £5,000 will be imposed for breaches, with local authorities also serving compliance notices to ensure properties are brought up to standard.
Investment in a heading system upgrade will not only ensure your building remains compliant but can deliver energy cost savings that will last for years to come.