The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Rt Hon Claire Coutinho, MP, responded to our call for certainty and confirmed that no changes have yet been made to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for non-domestic properties. However, she acknowledged it is essential that the UK Government reviews their policy design and timelines to ensure they are still fair and reasonable.
Since the Prime Minister ruled out legislation to force landlords to upgrade the EPC rating of their properties in September 2023 there has been confusion about whether non-domestic properties were included in this approach. Under current rules, non-domestic property in England and Wales must achieve EPC E (unless exempt), and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DENZ) propose that they must meet EPC B by 2030.
A consultation which ran in 2021 gathered views and evidence on the implementation and enforcement of the 2030 target, however, the UK Government response is yet to be published. Coutinho states that DENZ originally intended to introduce legislation in 2025 to allow sufficient lead time for landlords to prepare, but that this is no longer possible.
The Secretary of State invited Propertymark’s CEO, Nathan Emerson to meet officials to discuss further concerns over the decarbonisation of both domestic and non-domestic stock amid the department’s consultation on the future homes and buildings standards.
There are about 1.8 million non-domestic properties that will be affected and buildings in the commercial and public sectors account for around a third of the total final energy consumed (i.e. excluding industrial, agricultural or transport).
Premises of 1,000 square meters or larger represent only 10% of commercial and industrial buildings but emit over half of all the carbon from the building stock.
Around half of all energy consumed in commercial and industrial buildings in England and Wales is in the rented sector, placing the onus on landlords to make energy efficiency and heating improvements.