Energy

New EPC software causing problems for the property industry

The long overdue introduction of a new version of the software used for non-domestic energy performance certificates in England was given a hard launch on 15 June this year. By ‘hard launch’ we mean the day before all lodgements had to be in the old software and on 15 June all lodgements with the new software. Many of the high-end software providers had to rush their releases of new software to cater for this and there have been technical issues across the industry as a result.

This software contained an update to the amount of carbon emissions associated with the kWh of each fuel type, reflecting the move to renewables within the UK grid, with electricity approximately 2.5 times less carbon per kWh than previously assumed.

The methodology otherwise appeared broadly similar to that used previously and the industry as a whole expected changes to EPC ratings, particularly with regard to improvements on electrically heated buildings as per our previous blogs. However what was not so apparent, and which has caught all the Accreditation Schemes out was changes that were hidden away within the activity databases that the software uses to define various aspects of standardised occupation.

Changes within the lighting databases with regard to the expected illuminance in various areas of the building have reduced the benefit of LED upgrades. Effectively this means in many instances a reduction in the benefit of improving lighting in those spaces. Previously high efficacy LED lighting would go a long way towards improving an EPC rating and that impact is quite definitely diminished now.

So, in summary, there are many changes to existing buildings and many clients with some unwelcome surprises ahead. If you have buildings with proposed refurbs or that are mid-refurb, make sure you check the likely final EPC rating under this new EPC methodology sooner rather than later.

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