The MEES regulations - in need of reform

 

Jonathan Thompson, CLA heritage adviser, explains problems with the current MEES Regulations and what needs to be changed.

Jonathan Thompson

Many CLA members are very aware of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations 2015, intended to prohibit the letting of supposedly “energy-inefficient” buildings in EPC Bands F and G from April 2018 and April 2020, and Bands D and E from 2030.  Many will know that reaching Band E now is difficult for some buildings, and reaching C in future will (as things stand) be difficult or impossible for many more.

My next blog on this will look at what you can do to meet that 2020 deadline if you have an F or G building. 

CLA lobbying has continually made the case that the regulations are fundamentally flawed and need to be changed to reflect reality. 

Unfortunately, the regulations are not based on reducing overall carbon impacts, but on a narrow concept of “energy efficiency”.  They ignore all carbon impacts other than actual energy use.  They measure buildings largely by how much commercial insulation product they include.  They potentially push owners to install insulation products which have high initial carbon impacts and short lifespans, and/or can cause physical damage.  They encourage the replacement of existing buildings by high-carbon-impact, short-life new buildings.  And, unsurprisingly, so far, they have not been effective.

All this could quite easily be put right:  Government only needs to get the Standard Assessment Procedure methodology which underlies EPCs right, and the prescribed physical interventions right.  Within a couple of years, the regulations should work, and the CLA could simply help members to comply. However, we should not underestimate the scale of the challenge; with the current approach a core part of the Government and EU thinking, it may take a little time.