Understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

If you decide to sell or rent out your business premises, or make significant changes to it – you’re likely to require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An Energy Performance Certificate simply grades how energy efficient your buildings are – failure to obtain one can lead to fines being imposed, so it’s a snip of knowledge you really ought to take on board depending on your type of business.

Obtaining An EPC

An Energy Performance Certificate can be obtained from a registered commercial energy assessor. It’s important to choose an official accredited provider, but keep in mind the type of assessor you will ultimately need will depend on several characteristics held by your premises. In order to carry out an EPC, the assessor will require the following information:

  • How big the premises is and it’s purpose. Information on specific business use, and the types of people who use it will need to be declared.
  • Details about the insulation methods of the building along with the particulars on heating, cooling and its circulatory system.
  • Electricity feeds and lighting.
  • How the building is managed and controlled.

After an EPC is produced, the report will contain both a rating (from A to G) as well as a series of recommendations on how the premises may become more energy affluent.

Exempt Commercial Properties

Not all business premises will require an EPC – if your business falls under the umbrella of the following features and characteristics, you will be deemed EPC exempt:

  • If the building is being purchased via the instructions of a court.
  • If the building is a temple or other site of worship.
  • A premises that is having a lease renewal or extension (as opposed to a sale or first time lease).
  • Any detached business building that encompasses under 50 square metres in total floor space.
  • The building is deemed as temporary (will not be used for two years or more)
  • The premises is ear marked for demolition.
  • The premises saps up minimal energy (eg some types of agricultural land and outhouses)

Other Green Business Information

The EPC is only one measure that the UK government has employed to encourage businesses to practice their trade in a more green minded way. A number of different green taxes have been implemented which may apply depending on the type and size of a business – for example, the Climate Change Levy is a tax on fuels including gas and electricity to encourage companies to become more efficient in their use of carbon heavy fuels. Some companies can be exempt or get hefty relief if they fit a certain criteria.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can score capital allowances on any energy efficient purchases you make for your business – for certified purchases (usually associated with low or zero carbon machinery/equipment) – the end result is a lower tax bill.

For businesses that need to dispose of waste via landfill sites, there is a Landfill Tax applicable.

With ever increasing global emphasis on keeping the planet clean, it’s likely that additional green measures may become a part and parcel of business life in the UK. Knowing about the green taxes and reliefs that apply to you will help keep your business away from unwelcome fines while maximizing tax efficiencies at the same time.