At first glance a Commercial Energy Performance Certificate looks very similar to a domestic EPC, but they are quite different creatures. The commercial assessor does a detailed analysis of the building ‘envelope’ – all its many walls, doors, windows, ceilings roofs, floors etc. as well as its heating, lighting, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Each area of the building is mapped as an ‘activity zone’ describing what takes place there and the air-flow calculated.
Commercial buildings fall into 3 categories (3, 4 & 5) depending on their characteristics and only an assessor qualified to the appropriate level can produce the certificate. Typically, simple buildings can be Level 3, air-conditioned buildings Level 4 and a few buildings with special ventilation strategies Level Â 5. The EPC rates the building against similar buildings and new ones.
Each EPC comes with a ‘Recommendations Report’ which says what can be done to improve the energy rating. Some assessors are able to produce the EPC quickly from 3D modelling software such as ‘Carbon Checker’ and can easily do ‘what if’ analyses to tell you the savings from proposed improvements,
All commercial premises require an EPC whenever the ownership, lease or the mortgage changes and your solicitor can’t complete the legalities until he has the certificate, which has a nasty habit of making things grind to a halt while an urgent call goes out for an energy assessor. The legal requirement is for an EPC to be prepared before the premises are advertised, so the top tip is to book the EPC up-front and take a few minutes to read it when it arrives – a few proposed improvements can often save the new occupant a lot in fuel bills!
Simon Burton is a Level 4 Commercial Energy Assessor with Property Metrics.