The news of a new lockdown at the beginning of the year may have led some businesses to believe that there would be a pause on new policy development around energy and carbon. However, this has not been the case.
Just towards the end of December, the Department of Business Energy Development & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released a new energy whitepaper: ‘Powering our Net Zero Future’. The whitepaper outlines the Government’s proposed approach to achieving net zero status in line with legal commitments, split across six sections:
- Energy Systems
- Industrial Energy
- Oil and Gas
Given the whitepaper’s wide scope, it carries implications for business owners across virtually all sectors.
What are the implications for commercial and industrial buildings?
At ETS, we focus primarily on operational properties for our clients, helping them to reduce their energy consumption, carbon emissions and associated spend. As a result, whilst the scope of BEIS’ whitepaper is hugely broad, our main takeaways are what it directly signifies for commercial and industrial buildings.
In our view, the primary impact will be through the potential strengthening of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations, with a proposed uplift of the current legal minimum standard of E, to a minimum EPC rating of B by 2030, where it is cost effective to do so.
As approximately 80% of private-sector building energy demand comes from offices, retail space, hospitality and industrial – and in England and Wales approximately half of the energy consumed in commercial and industrial buildings is in the rented sector – the onus is very much still on landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their stock and contribute to the UK’s Net Zero ambitions, and the raising of MEES requirements certainly adds weight to this.
When will the Government be consulting on these proposals?
The Government will be consulting on the proposed MEES uplift, along with several other schemes that may have significant implications for commercial buildings, later in 2021.
Perhaps most notable among these are:
- A proposed new performance-based energy rating scheme for commercial and industrial buildings which is due to be consulted on in early 2021 with a projected launch date of the first phase in 2022/2023.
- A proposed new energy efficiency funding scheme focused on small businesses, also in 2021.
- A potential to strengthen the requirements of the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) to drive forward further improvement across business and industry. Again, it is proposed that this will be consulted on in 2021.
ETS keeps abreast of legislative develops that affect our clients’ businesses. If you or your colleagues have any concerns about what the potential changes may mean for your property strategy, we would be happy to talk to you about your specific circumstances.
Our expert team at ETS are always here to help; you can contact us by calling 0117 205 0542 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.