How do the changes to the Minimum Energy Efficient Standards affect you?

How do the changes to the Minimum Energy Efficient Standards affect you?

On 1st of April this year the regulations around Energy Performance Certificates changed. These new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) impact on both domestic and commercial rentals.

What are MEES?

The Energy Efficiency [Private Rented Property] (England & Wales) Regulations 2015, are known in the industry as the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards or MEES. They were originally introduced to analyse the energy efficiency performance of a building that was being let and, if they performed poorly, tenants could request improvements to their properties.

Why have they changed?

The reasoning behind the introduction of the new minimum EPC regulation 2018 is to help with the overall improvement of energy efficiency of buildings across the U.K by encouraging owners of inefficient properties to do their bit in helping meet CO2 reduction targets and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Data from the government shows that the average annual cost of energy for an EPC band G property is £2,860, and £2,180 for an F rated property. This contrasts with an average annual cost of £1,710 for an EPC band E property. Therefore, a tenant whose home is improved from EPC band G to band E could expect to see their energy costs reduced by £1,150 a year so long as there were no wider changes in how they use energy in the property. 

What are the changes?

Previously, both private Non-Domestic & Domestic building lets were given an energy efficiency rating that varies from A – G with G being the worst performing buildings. With the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards any new leases or renewal leases on a commercial property must reach a minimum performance of E.

Under the new changes, it is unlawful to rent out a property that does not meet the new EPC requirements. Buildings that do not meet the new MEES should not be rented out – failing to follow the new regulations could incur penalties which can range from anywhere between £5,000 – £150,000.

Are there any exemptions?

There are few exemptions – you don’t need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) if you can demonstrate that a building, either privately or commercially leased, 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

How do the MEES impact on new developments?

If you are looking to let out a property which was built in the last 8 years, the new level of MEES should not affect you.

Achieving the new energy efficiency standard for new-build buildings should be guaranteed as these buildings have already had to comply with stringent energy efficiency standards of Approved Documents L1a and L2A during the development stage.

However, for work on existing buildings (L1B and L2B) the Regulations are not as strict, and it may be possible to comply with Part L whilst still falling foul of MEES. 

What can you do?

If you are a property owner that is affected by this new regulation the sooner you address the situation, the better. The government estimates that around 18% of buildings across the U.K. will be affected by the new MEES, but experts in the industry predict this figure could be significantly higher.

The first step is to obtain an accurate EPC – precise modelling is vital in achieving MEES. Seeking professional guidance from one of our consultants at Energytest couldn’t be easier. We have the experience and techniques to help you and can provide professional and practical advice on how your building could achieve an ‘E’ rating or better.