Just 18 months in, the Government are consulting on how to improve the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for commercial buildings as part of the on-going CO2 reduction commitments and net-zero by 2050 commitment, a legally binding policy set in legislation earlier this year. MEES currently requires a minimum EPC rating of E in order for the building to be rented (some exceptions apply) and came into force in April 2018.
The new consultation consists of two proposed options to upgrade the requirements:
- The preferred option – that all privately rented non-domestic buildings should achieve a minimum energy efficiency standard of an EPC B by 1st April 2030
- Alternative option – that all privately rented non-domestic buildings should achieve a minimum energy efficiency standard of an EPC C by 1st April 2030
As in the previous regulations, a caveat has been added to the above options stating that the improvement measures would have to prove to be cost-effective, meaning that the improvement measure would achieve a payback period of 7 years or less.
The consultation also delves into alternative solutions to the implementation of the 2030 B/C rating proposals, looking into suggestions as to whether the updated requirements should be carried out in one large or several smaller incremental steps (ie. D rating by 2024, C by 2027 and B by 2030)
In addition to the two key questions above, the consultation document raises some interesting issues about the current structure, including:
- What can be improvements can be made to the current regulations?
- Would the existing exemptions still be effective under a tightened trajectory?
- How could the regulations be changed to overcome the current anomaly that a landlord is unable to grant a lease of a building where it has been agreed that the tenant will carry out its own fitting out works?
- How can enforcement be improved to support a tightened trajectory?
A copy of the full consultation document can be found here.