Government to launch consultation on commercial building energy efficiency
A Government consultation into driving energy efficiency in commercial buildings will be launched “as soon as possible”, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Speaking at a BEIS Committee hearing this week, Energy and Climate Change Minister Claire Perry said, “There are even more barriers to energy efficiency improvements in the non-domestic sector than there are in the domestic sector. Energy is often priced in as a service and there’s a paucity of understanding on who the landlord is.”
Around 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from energy consumed in buildings. Perry said, “Improvements are happening, but from an emissions point of view, this is a huge untapped area. We’ve found it very difficult to introduce policies in this sector. Successive governments have done nothing in this area; we realise it’s a huge problem, but one we want to go after.”
A change in regulation?
A recently published Government Call for Evidence (CfE) on business energy reduction also highlighted the challenges of carbon reduction in commercial buildings. It announced plans to consult on the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which currently requires all newly leased non-domestic buildings to meet a minimum Energy Performance Certificate of E before a lease can be entered into or renewed. From 2023, all privately rented buildings will be required to comply with MEES, and the Government will seek views on a further tightening of standards through this route.
The CfE also declared that steps would be taken across the owner occupier and new build stock, and we are expecting a consultation on Part L of the Building Regulations in 2019.
Despite these upcoming changes, Perry was keen to stress that regulation does not provide all of the answers: “I don’t want to be in the business of banning and regulating everything,” Perry said. “We know from experience that is how you drive out innovation and market responses, which can deliver, as we’ve seen with renewable energy.”
If you’d like advice on improving the energy efficiency of your estate, or on complying with MEES and other regulations, get in touch.