Check what Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating you need for commercial buildings

If you own or manage non-domestic buildings you may need to prove they meet minimum energy efficiency standards.

Energy Performance Certificates or ‘EPCs’ are already required in many cases and are mandatory for rented commercial buildings from April 2023. This includes properties where the leases are mid-term.

If you’re a tenant, your landlord may have to meet these standards to continue to let your space.

Contents

  1. Why performance ratings are required
  2. What type of rating is required
  3. Meet EPC ratings in England and Wales
  4. Meet EPC ratings in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  5. Get finance and support

Why performance ratings are required

According to the UK Green Building Council, the ‘built environment’ accounts for 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Built environment includes homes, buildings and other infrastructure such as roads and pipes.

Most non-domestic buildings need to make measurable improvements to energy performance standards to improve efficiency.

Over time this will help to:

Find out how to retrofit your premises to achieve a higher standard.

What type of rating is required

Buildings are rated using Energy Performance Certificates or ‘EPCs’.

EPCs can only be done by certified commercial assessors. They provide a rating from ‘A’ to ‘G’, with level A being the most efficient.

EPCs are valid for 10 years once issued.

It costs from around £150 to get an EPC for small buildings. EPC costs increase with building size and complexity.

Your assessor will calculate your rating based on the following things:

  • windows
  • boilers and heating systems
  • roofs, walls and insulation
  • renewable energy devices (solar panels or wind turbines)
  • lighting
  • fireplaces
  • building measurements
  • construction materials
  • the year the property was built

In England and Wales, energy performance is calculated using approved national calculation methodologies.

Additional performance regulations apply if you are constructing a major addition or new building.

How to meet EPC ratings in England and Wales

In England and Wales, privately rented non-domestic buildings must legally have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when:

  • they are being sold
  • they are being let to new tenants
  • an existing tenancy is renewed
  • you retrofit the heating, cooling or ventilation systems

You can be fined between £500 and £5,000 if you don’t make an EPC available to a prospective buyer or tenant. Local authorities enforce compliance with EPCs.

Find out how to get an EPC certificate or check the status of a building on GOV.UK.

Get an exemption

You might be exempt from an EPC if you own or manage:

  • properties that can prove retrofits would not pay back within 7 years
  • listed properties that would be ‘unacceptably altered’
  • some temporary, vacant, and to-be-demolished buildings
  • detached buildings smaller than 50 square metres

Find a full list of exemptions on GOV.UK.

Check Historic England’s Energy Efficiency Guide for advice on upgrading listed properties.

Meet EPC ‘E’ rating in your private rented non-domestic property

As of April 2023 all privately rented non-domestic properties in England and Wales must legally have an EPC rating of ‘E’ where cost effective.

An EPC rating of ‘E’ applies:

  • regardless of tenancy and ownership status
  • to all non-domestic rented properties that are legally required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • usually if you let a property and it has been marketed for sale or let in the past 10 years

This means you need to get an EPC with a rating of ‘E’ if:

  • you don’t have an EPC (and are required to have one)
  • your existing EPC is more than 10 years old
  • your building has an EPC rated lower than ‘E’ and you don’t have an exemption

Minimum energy efficiency standards of EPC ‘B’ by 2030

The government consulted on requiring that all non-domestic rented buildings below EPC Band B must undertake cost-effective improvements by 2030, with an interim milestone of EPC ‘C’ by 2027.

Find out more about the proposals for implementation of EPC ‘B’ by 2030 on GOV.UK.

Meet regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Find building energy efficiency standards in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Both have EPC requirements with similar rating schemes.

The Scottish Government has recently consulted on proposals for a Heat in Buildings Bill, which includes proposals for regulating heat in non-domestic buildings, and could lead to new regulations from 2026.

Get finance and support

You might find it helpful to hire a consultant so you can get the right EPC rating if your business needs support and has financial resources.

Check our retrofit funding page to find out what finance support is available from banks, government schemes and local councils.

Find finance and support for your region.

Find case studies about SMEs that have successfully cut costs and carbon emissions.