The increasing focus on emissions, coupled with spiralling energy costs, means the efficiency of our commercial buildings is coming under increased scrutiny. The energy required to heat and power non-domestic buildings is estimated to be responsible for around 12% of the UK’s emissions.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates how energy efficient a building is using grades from A to G (with ‘A’ the most efficient grade). Construction materials and the type of lighting used can have a significant impact on a building’s rating, while outdated HVAC systems can also have a major bearing on emissions and overall efficiency. Almost all domestic and non-domestic buildings sold, rented out or constructed since 2008 must have an EPC (for exemptions see below). Landlords can be fined between £500 and £5,000 based on the rateable value of the building if they do not make an EPC available to prospective buyers or tenants.
As part of the UK government’s net zero by 2050 ambitions, under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) first introduced in 2018, landlords cannot grant new leases or renew existing leases on commercial properties with an EPC below E. The government initially estimated that almost one in five commercial properties could not achieve a rating above F. By April 2023, MEES will apply to all privately rented property, making it an offence to let commercial space with an F or G rating, even in the middle of a lease term. EPC ratings are based on numerous factors, including construction materials and interior lighting.
An A result has a rating of 0-25, while a zero-rating is defined as the performance of the building that has zero net annual CO2 emissions. EPCs, which are valid for 10 years, can only be awarded by a commercial energy assessor. The type of assessor needed will depend on the complexity and features of the building.
When it comes to heating and cooling commercial buildings, older HVAC plant and equipment can have a major impact on energy emissions and overall efficiency.
Older air conditioning systems, the use of outdated chillers – especially those still running on R22 or similar refrigerants – and air handling units with non-inverter DC fans can all affect a building’s overall performance.
Although a system may still be working, the air flow may not be good as previously, certain zones may not be cooled or heated properly and you may notice water or coolant leakage. Additionally, if energy bills are constantly increasing even if system usage is stable and unit costs have not risen, this indicates the system is losing efficiency. It is having to work harder to achieve the same results and this is a sign it may be nearing the end of its life.
Batchelor can assist in helping you replace ageing, inefficient equipment with revolutionary technology.
Have you considered that the energy you remove from your building in cooling is lost to atmosphere? Reusable energy, that you otherwise have to generate. We provide a design service for heat recovery air conditioning systems. These highly efficient systems transfer energy between rooms requiring cooling and areas that require heating, reusing energy, maintaining building efficiency and reducing operational costs. We can also generate hot water up to 80oC with the same method which would provide low cost hot water from a renewable source.
Energy recovery ventilation provides a method of maintaining indoor air quality without sacrificing a buildings temperature. Supply and extract airflows pass through a heat exchanger and exchange energy without ever mixing, this maintains the buildings temperature in summer or winter and can provide free cooling during high ambient temperatures.
Providing heat pump chillers with energy exchange modules, simultaneous operation, microchannel heat exchangers and advanced control strategies, allow us to design a system that not only reduce refrigerant quantities and so reduce the systems direct environmental impact, but also create energy recovery processes that were previously unavailable on older equipment.
Batchelor’s full range of products utilise highly efficient inverter driven or EC fans, inverter compressors and control strategies that further optimise a products efficiency. Please get in touch to discover how Batchelor’s efficient HVAC solutions can help improve the EPC rating of your building.
An EPC is not required if it can be demonstrated that the building is any of these:
- listed or officially protected and the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it
- a temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less; • used as a place of worship or for other religious activities
- an industrial site, workshop or non-residential agricultural building that doesn’t use much energy
- a detached building with a total floor space under 50 square metres
- due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents