“My vision for the next twelve months and beyond is an explosion of the momentum to the point where ‘green finance’ becomes simply – ‘finance’.” John Glen, Economic Secretary – Green Finance Summit, 17 July 2018.
This statement perfectly captures the UK government’s dedication to the country’s investment in a sustainable future. The formation of the City of London’s Green Finance Initiative, in 2016, was a major step on the path to this future. Green Finance is just part of the government’s environmental work, it has also promised to improve the country’s energy productivity by 20% by 2030 as it joins international efforts to provide an environmentally secure future for the planet. A major factor in meeting government objectives is improving energy efficiency; something that many owners of commercial and domestic premises in the capital are failing to do.
EPC ratings an issue for commercial and domestic properties in London
The release of a 2016 report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy revealed that EPC ratings in London need to be improved if sustainability targets are to be met. According to the report, 37% of commercial properties in London had an EPC rating of E, F or G, with domestic properties being little better; around 25% of all domestic properties in the capital have an EPC rating of E or lower. These ratings indicate how energy efficient a property is and are displayed on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property. A is the highest possible rating and G is the lowest. However, steps are already being taken to solve London’s energy efficiency issues.
How to solve energy efficiency issues in the capital
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards became law in April this year. The standards mean that landlords of domestic and commercial properties are not permitted to rent out a property, or to renew a lease, if the property has an EPC rating of F or G. From 1 April 2033, the scope of the new laws is extended. From this point in time, landlords will no longer be able to continue renting out any property that has one of the two lowest ratings; this applies to properties where a lease agreement is already in place.
The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards should cause London landlords to make changes to address energy efficiency issues in their properties. Businesses are also being encourage to make changes with the announcement of a £500m business energy efficiency fund (MEEF). London Mayor Sadiq Khan made the announcement on 9 July 2018. The fund is the largest of its kind in the UK and is aimed at helping public sector organisations and small businesses to fund carbon reducing initiatives such as alternative energy solutions and electric car charging stations. The fund is being managed by Amber Infrastructure Group, with major funding provided by the European Regional Development Fund.
The creation of the MEEF does not only support the government’s energy efficiency aims, it also supports the promises made by Sadiq Khan himself. His aim is to cut carbon emissions in London by 60% from emission levels that existed in 1990, by 2025, and to have zero carbon emissions by 2050.
These initiatives are in addition to the promise by the City of London that it’s premises will all use renewable energy sources for power by October 2018. These sources include solar panels on the roofs of buildings, wind power and clean energy from the grid. This may only apply to a small part of the greater London area (a little more than one square mile) but it’s still a major commitment to a more energy efficient future.
Energy efficiency ratings and the London property market?
It’s no secret that house prices are falling in the capital. Much of the fall has been due to the collapse of the buy to let market, due to the impact of new tax laws. The average price of starter homes (those with one or two bedrooms) has fallen by around 3.5% over the last year, according to Right Move. This seems to favour first time buyers, but experts predict that the market will remain slow until at least 2022. It’s hard to gauge how much impact high energy costs due to inefficiency may have. However, it’s fairly certain that no new home owner will want to be faced with the daunting prospect of large bills on top of other high London living expenses.
An EPC helps you see the whole picture
There is no doubt that the energy efficiency of London needs to improve. Initiatives have already been introduced, but businesses and individuals can also help. Having an EPC in place helps people to see what the current energy efficiency rating is for their property and it can also provide information and advice about what improvements should be made.
EPC For You believe in assisting with the improvement of energy efficiency in London, by assessing the energy efficiency of domestic and commercial premises across the capital. Legally, any building that is being sold, newly built or let, has to have an EPC in place. We work with property agents, housing associations, home, and business owners all across London to help them sell or lease more quickly, or achieve a better asking price for their property. Although, an EPC is not legally required for an existing property that is not being sold or let, it can still be useful to have one in place. Any property owner in London can benefit from the services that we offer. These services include a full expert assessment of the property, the completion of an EPC and the provision of reliable advice about potential energy efficiency improvements dedicated to saving money and to helping London meet its energy efficiency aims.