Just 18 months in, the Government is consulting on how to improve the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for commercial buildings as part of the ongoing 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 their 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.