Jonathan Thompson, CLA heritage adviser, looks at what to do if you are in the ‘wrong’ EPC band.
My previous blog looked at the fundamental issues with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations. The CLA is committed to continuing to make the case for reform to government. However, this blog looks at what you should do within the current framework.
The key advice is to read the CLA Guidance Notes on this, especially GN06-19 Reducing heating costs in existing buildings, available to read here.
There are almost always cost-effective ways of making buildings easier to heat, while also reducing their carbon impacts. The CLA Guidance Note (section A4) lists these, beginning with the most effective and least risky, so look at these, and implement the most sensible. This should (in theory) give you happier tenants, and in many cases will take you to EPC Band E, or higher, and you will be compliant with the current MEES regulations (at least for now).
But what if, even with the sensible works done, you are still in Band F or G, with an EPC demanding cost-ineffective and/or physically-damaging works like double-glazing or solid wall insulation?
If the building is listed or in a conservation area or has demonstrable heritage value, carrying out the sensible works should make it exempt from the EPC regime, which would put it out of the scope of MEES.
Otherwise, further lobbying by the CLA, with others, has secured several exemptions (see the Guidance Note), and a £3,500 cost cap. You have to register and prove the exemptions every five years but these at least should prevent you being forced to do the most physically-damaging or cost-ineffective types of work.
If you would like any further advice, please contact your regional office.