Since the introduction of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in England to an EPC ‘E’ for leases and the expected strengthening of this to EPC ‘B’ by 2030, the Scottish EPC methodology has come under some scrutiny.
For those who are not aware, the Scottish EPC methodology does not compare the building in question against a Reference Building, the rating that is on the EPC is the CO2 emissions associated with that building. Therefore, buildings with high energy loads, for example student halls of residence and hotels, will never be able to achieve an EPC ‘B’.
Scotland’s answer to MEES was to bring in Section 63 Action Plans. Once an EPC assessment is carried out, those buildings that are over 1,000m2 and don’t meet the 2002 Building Regulations will need an Action Plan created to bring it up to the 2002 Building Regulations standard. Currently, completing the Action Plan can be deferred by completing yearly Display Energy Certificates (DECs).
Our Clients understandably don’t realise that a Scottish EPC is vastly different to an English one, they worry about their EPCs being below the ‘B’ level and are often confused by toothless Section 63 Action Plans. Our view would be that it would make sense for Scotland to adopt the English methodology for EPCs and bring in a minimum standard of ‘B’. We’ve already seen this to be a big driver of decarbonisation in England where building owners are considering lower carbon alternatives in line with their plant replacement strategies, Scotland is in danger of being left behind.