Insights 28th June 2022 ESG services

This month has seen a significant change in energy assessments for non-domestic buildings, which will impact EPC ratings with the introduction of the most recent version of the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) the methodology used by energy professionals to calculate energy efficiency in commercial property. 

In this explanation, ESG Director Vicky Cotton discusses the new methodology. It seems to penalise buildings using gas, making it challenging to improve their EPC ratings.

The government’s drive to meet Net Zero targets propels updates in assessing energy consumption and EPC ratings for non-domestic properties.

Transition to renewable energy and its impact

Today, 30% to 40% of the electricity in the national grid is produced by renewable or low-carbon fuels. In 2020, a one-off record high of 53% of electricity within the grid came from renewable or low-carbon sources.

With the national electricity grid shifting away from fossil fuels, the carbon factor of electricity has notably improved by around 73% from the 2013 values.

Modifications to carbon intensity values directly affect predicted carbon emissions. Consequently, a property’s EPC rating, given that EPC ratings for non-domestic buildings are based on CO2 emissions.

The carbon factor for electricity improved, but natural gas carbon factor slightly worsened. Buildings using gas may get a lower rating.

In 14 test projects calculated by @CarbonProfile, all nine of the grid-electric buildings received a better rating under the new version 6.1 SBEM. All five natural-gas-heated projects got worse.

Consider recalculating EPCs with the new SBEM methodology before renovating for improved EPC ratings ahead of MEES changes. The amended MEES rules require an EPC of ‘B’ by 2030, setting an interim target of ‘C’ by 2027.

For more information about EPC’s, read our recent EPC update or contact our ESG team in London.