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Example Commercial EPC Waverley Energy AssessmentsA Guide To Your EPC

So you’ve paid to have one done...what does it all mean?

Asset rating

Firstly we have an asset rating (for the example to the right) 70 which is pretty good. Generally anything built to 1995 regulations or later should be around a rating of 100. Areas which will detract from a rating are things like tungsten filament lighting, the small Low voltage MR16 and mains GU10 types are also included in this category.  A commercial property generally has people who don’t pay the bills controlling the light switches, so lighting can be a large proportion of total energy consumed in a building.

Benchmarks

The next two numbers to look at are the “if newly built” and the “existing stock” tags. Part L 2010 Building Regulations (AD L2a PartL Energy Efficiency) specify very high levels of insulation and efficient means of heating and conditioning a building. So a new built property should almost always be significantly better than 50. The existing stock is the benchmark of the same building built to 1995 regulations.  In this example the building has come out spot on the same as an existing rating.
Taking this argument a little further, were this particular example built in the 1970’s where there were no energy saving provisions in Building regulations, there may be single glazed metal framed windows with old non-condensing boiler of say 65% efficiency (A rated condensing boilers are >90%), then typically the rating could be around 150.

Area

Also from the front page you’ll see an area of the building. This is often different to the marketing details. There are 2 reasons: firstly for the EPC we measure the total Gross Internal Area of a property, including plant rooms, corridors, etc. Basically everything within the heat loss envelope of the  building. Marketing details will often show just the rateable net internal areas.

Secondly, but measuring everything within the heat loss envelope of the outside of the building, we end up including the volume of the internal walls. This perceived error can account for as much as 10% of the gross internal area, if there are many thick internal walls in say a small office.

Heating & Environment

This shows the main fuel used for the heating, and the type...in this case it’s a gas central heating system.  Gas systems tend to score better than electric ones because the CO2 burden of mains gas is much lower than that of grid supplied electricity (0.194kgCO2/kWh versus 0.422 kgCO2/kWh).

Building Complexity

Buildings are assessed as being one of 3 Levels:

  • A level 3 building is generally one with a simple heating system such as gas boiler, electric panels or basic split air-conditioning cassettes.
  • A level 4 is one that has a ducted air-conditioning system or ventilation system. Both of these are modelled in SBEM, the government's default Non-Domestic Energy Assessment software.
  • A level 5 building is bluntly, none of the above, and therefore can’t be modelled in SBEM. This would typically be a complex building with glass atria.

UPRN: Unique Property Reference Number

Not shown on the example, this is an 8 digit unique number for that property. Well in the ideal world it would be unique! The database is administered by Landmark, who in turn use the Royal Mail Address Database. This invariably changes on a monthly basis, so it is not uncommon to see 3 or 4 non-current tenant names on the database for the same physical property. This is likely to lead to all kinds of issues in years to come, where disputes might arise over which EPC actually relates to which property or part of a property. When we issue an EPC, we generally only issue it with NO occupant’s business name, unless they were physically there on the day of the inspection.

For example: Mrs Miggins Pie Shop, 1 High St, Anytown.

If we carried out the inspection and Mrs Miggins had done a runner to the Bahamas, and the property was in the hands of the receivers, we’d issue the EPC as 1 High st, Anytown. However if Mrs Miggins was still trading successfully at 1 high St, and was putting the property into her pension, then we’d leave the address as : Mrs Miggins Pie Shop, 1 High St, Anytown.

We’ve seen some dreadful examples of other EPC providers issuing EPCs on properties where they haven’t understood what’s required of them and issue them under addresses such as ABC mutual pension fund, Woolworths, 1 High St, Anytown. I.e. in the name of the pension fund owning the property, irrelevant information.

Certificate Reference Number

Each EPC has a 16 digit unique reference number. To confuse the public further the Recommendations Report has a completely different RRN to the EPC. Having either of these or the UPRN should make the EPC searchable on the NDEPC database. In practice, if clients have the UPRN or the RRN, then they’ll have the EPC. In theory the Landmark database can be checked at www.ndepcregister.com but in practice the search engine is flawed, and the area open to the public is not reliable. As accredited assessors we can search the secure area on your behalf should you need to verify whether a property has an EPC.

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