What is an EPC? 

What is an EPC? 

An Energy Performance Certificate gives detailed information about buildings or property’s energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. 

To receive an EPC, you must have an Energy Assessment Survey carried out at your commercial building or property.  Your Energy Assessor will perform internal and external inspections to determine how energy efficient your building is and what possible level of efficiency is achievable if improvements are made. 

Some of the things your assessor will take a look at are: 

  • Windows 
  • Roofs, walls and insulation 
  • Boilers and heating systems 
  • Renewable energy devices (solar panels or wind turbines) 
  • Lighting 
  • Fireplaces 
  • The building measurements 
  • The year the property was built 

Once your assessor has performed a full inspection, they will put together your EPC and grade your building’s energy performance: ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. 

How long does an EPC last? 

Once your EPC has been issued, it is then valid for ten years. Once it runs out, you do not need to get a new one unless you are entering a new tenancy with new tenants or selling the property. 

Your EPC will also come with a recommendation report containing advice and improvements that will make your property more energy-efficient. Your assessor’s suggestions may include: 

  • Installing cavity wall and loft insulation 
  • Draught-proofing windows and doors 
  • Insulating pipes and tanks 
  • Installing a condensing boiler 
  • Reducing water usage 
  • Considering energy efficient glazing 
  • Considering renewable energy technology such as a wood fuelled heater, solar panels or wind turbines 
  • Installing low-energy usage light bulbs 

When do I need to renew my EPC? 

If your Energy Performance Certificate expires, you are not automatically required to get a new one. 

You will only need to get a new EPC if you intend to let to a new tenant or wish to sell the commercial building or property. 

Once an EPC reaches the ten-year point and expires, there is currently no automatic requirement for a new one to be commissioned. A further EPC will only be required the next time a trigger point is reached, i.e. when the property is next sold or let to a new tenant. 

What happens if I don’t have an EPC? 

Your building or property cannot be legally let if it doesn’t have a valid Energy Performance Certificate. If you are found to have no EPC, you may be fined up to £5,000 by your local authorities. 

When the regulations are updated in 2025, the penalty for not having a valid EPC of ‘C’ or above will be raised to £30,000. 

You must provide your tenant with a copy of the EPC at the beginning of the tenancy or – if you have renewed the certificate whilst they’re in situ – at the earliest opportunity. 

As a landlord, you are also legally obligated to give your tenant a copy of the government’s How to Rent guide and your EICR and Gas Safety Certificate. If you don’t supply your tenant with these legal documents, you won’t be able to issue a Section 21 notice.

Become a Net Zero Business

Understand your business emissions is the main thing you need to conside

1) What causes emissions 

Direct carbon emissions produced by professional services and office-based businesses: 

  • energy use – electricity and gas for lighting, heating and office equipment 
  • information technology – creating and storing digital information 
  • general waste – when it’s not recycled and ends up at landfill sites 
  • transport – using petrol or diesel vehicles to get to work or deliver services

2) Calculate your emissions 

Use a carbon calculator to work out your business’s carbon footprint. This is measured in tonnes, over a year. 

3) Estimate the cost of your emissions 

Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action. 

4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment 

Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.

Actions you can take right now

1) Use less energy at your workplace 

Quick, low-cost  measures include: 

  • lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency 
  • heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation 
  • office equipment – turn off and unplug all devices when they’re not being used
  • ventilation system – make sure it is cleaned and maintained regularly 

2) Change your energy tariff 

Switch to a green energy tariff with your energy supplier. This will reduce your reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels. 

3) Switch to a smart meter 

This will allow you to see and control how much energy you use.  

4) Manage your waste 

Recycle waste to prevent it being taken to landfill sites where it takes longer to break down and causes more emissions. 

Longer term actions 

1) Making changes to your workplace 

If you are the legal owner, there are a number of long-term measures you can take to improve energy efficiency.  Check planning permission guidelines before you go ahead with any structural changes to the property. 

Improving insulation and windows 

You can make long-term savings on energy bills by insulating your workplace and replacing old windows. 

Installing renewables 

You can also make significant long-term savings by installing renewable sources of energy. 

For example: 

  • heat pumps for heating and water
  • solar panels or a wind turbine for electricity 

2) Reducing transport emissions 

Over 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. You can take measures to reduce the impact. If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport. 

Electric vehicles 

If you use a work vehicle, you can also reduce emissions and fuel costs by buying or renting an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas. 

For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers at your home or workplace. A government grant scheme covers up to £350 per charging point. 

Learn more about reducing the impact of transport 

3) Sustainable product packaging 

Replace plastic with recycled or compostable substitutes. 

Types of sustainable packing include: 

  • plant-based packaging 
  • edible packaging – made from seaweed extract 
  • compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives 
  • plantable packaging – which is made from seeds and can be buried in soil 

Find sustainable packaging companies 

Indirect emissions 

To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product. 

1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products 

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon 
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate 

2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business 

  • make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate 
  • reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs 
  • make investments in lower carbon financial products 
  • give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises 

The Exponential Roadmap Initiative

The Exponential Climate Roadmap was developed in 2018, in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. It explored how laws to curb carbon emission could be implemented globally across all sectors of the economy, and aimed to provide achievable solutions for governments and businesses to cut their own emissions. The Exponential Roadmap Initiative’s goals are rooted in The Paris Agreement’s evidence that the risk of dangerous climate change can still be accomplished if global emissions of greenhouse gases peak by 2020, halve by 2030, and then halve again by 2040, and 2050. Like other environmental initiative coalitions, the ultimate goal of the Exponential Roadmap is to limit the global impact of climate change by strategizing business models to ensure that global warming stays below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The Exponential Roadmap Initiative works in partnership with the United Nation’s ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, which ‘is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth’ (UN Climate Action, 2021). It also works in cooperation with ‘TED: Countdown’, the which aims to champion and accelerate global solutions to the climate crisis by facilitating ‘turning ideas into action’. Companies which have subscribed tothe initiative include Ikea, Google, Nestle, and Unilever, amongst hundreds of others. Unlike The Climate Pledge, the initiative is aimed at providing sustainable solutions for all companies, from tech giants to small businesses, rather than simply holding globally powerful companies to account for their environmental impact. No matter how big or small your business is, this initiative and its business playbook could be the key to developing the management of your own company for economic and environmental sustainability.

To this end, The Exponential Climate Initiative was a founding partner of the SME Climate Hub, which aims to support small to medium businesses to develop and maintain sustainable business practices in order to be ‘future-proof’. Through this hub since 2020, the UK government has been able to partner with business owners and influential climate groups to facilitate positive change in line with the climate commitments made in the 2016 Paris Agreement. This is similarly based on the 36 solutions presented by the 1.5 °C Business Playbook, which provides a framework of environmental sustainability based on 4 key principles called ‘pillars’. The first step is to reduce the business’s own emissions, andthe second is to reduce the business’s value chain emissions. The third pillar is the integration of climate considerations into wider business strategy, and the fourth is to meaningfully influence climate action in society.

For any UK company, The Exponential Roadmap Initiative, and the achievable climate solutions put forward in its business playbook will be essential to success. Enviro SP Consulting are therefore committed to providing relevant and informed guidance around the input and application of sustainable business strategies to your, in line with aims to halve global emissions by 2030.

The Climate Pledge

Fundamentally, The Climate Pledge is a tangiblecommitment made by companies to the challenge of reaching net zero emissions by 2040. It is a pledge which has already been made by a vast range of 110 businesses, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, Coca-Cola, and ITV. around the globe. This is ten years in advance of the deadline set out by The Paris Agreement, made within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and signed in 2016. The agreement includes a number of mandatory measures for monitoring, verifying, and public reporting of progress towardseach country’s targets for emissions-reduction.In line with scientific research, however, signatories of the pledge recognise that the terms of this agreement, while vital for the prevention of irreparable climate damage, will be too little to late. The Climate Pledge therefore functions as a coalition of influential global companies, which strives to put pressure on governments to not only maintain the commitments made in The Paris Agreement, but to go above and beyond to protect our planet for future generations.

The Climate Pledge therefore consists of three main principles, to which signatories are required to adhere:

Regular Reporting – under the pledge, businesses are required to measure and publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis. This is designed to make companies aware of which aspects of their business model need to change in order to reach net zero emissions, and should exist as a record to demonstrate significant, quantifiable reductions year upon year.

Carbon Elimination – By implementing various decarbonization strategies,as described in the Paris Agreement, signatories must strive to make real business changes. This will include efficiency improvements, renewable energy, and materials reductions, as well as new and innovative carbon emission elimination strategies.

Credible Offsets – In order to neutralize any remaining emissions which cannot be avoided, signatories are required to contribute toquantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offset schemes and initiatives in order to maintain their commitment to achieving net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040. The consequences of failure are almost inconceivable. From rising sea levels, to forest fires, rising global temperatures are already beginning to take a toll on the environment. Around the world, we are already beginning to see areas of human settlements being destroyed by climate change, ultimately making them uninhabitable and creating increasing numbers of ‘climate refugees’. In a world where consumers are increasingly aware of the risks of climate change and the need for sustainability, the future of signatories to The Climate Pledge therefore depends upon their ability to keep their promise to strive for net zero. In the long run, these businesses are as dependent as the rest of humanity on the continued habitability of the planet, while consumers are increasingly likely to choose more sustainable competitors. For a business to fail in their commitment to The Climate Pledge, then, is to be boycottedfor an environmentally unsustainable business model, making businesses continued commitment to net zero essential to their survival in every way.