We all need to be doing our bit to help to reduce climate change, cut energy emissions and make our world a better and more sustainable place. Everybody plays their part – whether it is trying to use renewable energy, recycle our waste, or cut down on our use of cars, but businesses and government can also have a massive impact on the environment.

According to the Carbon Trust, the UK’s non-domestic buildings – including factories, are responsible for about 18% of the country’s total carbon emissions – and this is something that doesn’t look like is going to change for a while.

One of the measures that the government has put in place is the necessity of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) whenever a building is constructed on, sold or rented out. An EPC essentially will give new occupiers a breakdown of how energy efficient a building is and what they can do to improve it.

When do you need a commercial EPC?

If you have a factory it will almost certainly need to have an EPC if you are going to sell it, rent it out, or have finished some major construction work on the building. Failure to get one could result in a fine of between £500 and £5000.

The government stipulated that in this instance, the definition of a building is that it must be “a roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate”. This means that as long as your factory has a heating system, you will need one.

There are, however, some exceptions. If:

  • they are temporary buildings and have a planned time of use of fewer than two years;
  • they are stand-alone (entirely detached) buildings which have a total useful floor area of less than 50m2 that are not dwellings;
  • the buildings are on sale or rent and are due to be demolished

When you have your Energy Performance Certificate, you must then also display it for everyone to see if:

  • There is a total useful floor area of at least 500 square metres
  • The building is often visited by the public, and
  • An EPC has already been produced

What is a Commercial EPC?

When the occupiers of a commercial building changes (through the sale or rent) or you have carried out significant building world on a building, it is the law that you have a commercial EPC. To get a certificate an expert assessor will come out to carry out an inspection, looking at how energy efficient the building is.

They will look at issues such as the building’s construction, how energy efficient the heating system is, insulation in the walls and roof, whether there are different areas used for different purposes, lighting and ventilation. From the information that they gather, they will then give the building an energy rating based on a CO2 index.

The CO2 index is based on the amount of energy that would be needed to heat a space, and the CO2 index number is based on carbon emissions and compared to another similar building,

A recommendation report will also be provided. This means that the certificate will come with a report outlining any potential recommendations which can help to reduce the buildings’ carbon emissions. This can be particularly useful if someone is looking to buy or rent out the factory – enabling them to get an idea of how energy efficient it is, how much they are likely to pay for energy bills and what they can do to cut them down.

Getting an Energy Performance Certificate for your Factory

If you are a factory owner and require an energy performance certificate, the process is very simple. You can find a local EPC assessor. There are a number of people who can carry out your EPC in London – or wherever you are.

Your EPC needs to be carried out by an authorised assessor. They should be a member of an accreditation scheme, and you can search for them on the government central register. Your Energy Performance Certificate will be valid for 10 years and will stay with the building.

If your factory building has separate parts which have been designed and do use different heating systems, then each separate area will need to have a separate EPC – as well as any communal areas.

The certificate is then logged onto the central register, which then generates a unique reference number which is displayed on the certificate.

Getting an EPC for your factory needn’t be difficult and can actually be very useful for both potential occupiers as well as those who are already in there. By understanding how we can improve the energy efficiency of a commercial building like a factory, we are able to start to make conscious decisions about how to make these – often rather wasteful buildings – more energy efficient.