Understanding MEES and improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings

If you’re a landlord renting commercial properties, you should already be aware of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) that came into effect on 1 April 2018, but do you know exactly how it affects your business and what changes are still to come?

We work with many commercial clients on meeting the MEES regulations and improving the energy efficiency of their property portfolio. So what do you need to know as a landlord? We take a look...

The Government introduced the MEES regulations as part of a wider scheme of work to meet its carbon reduction targets and is mainly focused on bringing older buildings up to standard.

The aim is to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings by placing restrictions on leases being granted or renewed where the property has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G.

MEES and energy efficiency Changes yet to come

For the last few years, the regulations have applied to new leases and from 1 April 2023, they will be extended to cover existing leases as well. It is important for landlords to review their properties and plan any required works now, to avoid last-minute costs in the future.

While energy efficiency ratings can certainly be improved, the work could be costly and you may need time to phase required works across properties if you have a large portfolio. Landlords who are prepared well in advance of this next deadline will have an opportunity to move forward with new leases and greener buildings, while others have to act quickly to catch up.

When we work with clients to improve their property EPC rating, we like to add value from start to finish. We can help to assess your buildings, identify improvements, advise on potential costs and support you with long-term plans for the property, providing you with a full package of expertise.

By reviewing your portfolio now and considering the future in your plans, you can be sure that you have worked to achieve compliance with MEES. This will include a plan that identifies non-compliant vacant properties and an understanding of the works required.

How to improve energy efficiency

In any building, heat is lost through the roof, walls, doors, and windows, and energy efficiency will also be calculated on these factors, as well as the performance of heating systems, lighting, and use of power. You can make quick and easy changes either in your vacant properties or by working with your tenants to:

  • Ensure lights are switched off in spaces that aren’t being used, and that energy-saving bulbs are used.
  • Ensure machinery and electronic devices are fully shut down during non-working hours.
  • Check that boilers and heating systems are used in the most efficient setting.
  • Engage tenant employees in reducing energy usage where possible.

There are also a number of larger factors that we will consider to improve the energy efficiency of a building and bring it up to standard. These include:

  • Ensuring windows are well insulated with double or triple glazing to reduce the amount of air escaping.
  • Considering the use of solar panels to convert sun rays to electricity.
  • Checking that the roof has insulation so keep heat inside the building.

Whether you are looking to continue using the property in the same way for many years, develop in the future, or update an older building for commercial leasing, the time and money you invest in making improvements now will stand you in good stead for the future.

We have worked with many clients to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and ensure the properties comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard regulations in good time. If you’d like any advice on your own portfolio, contact our expert team.


Disclaimer: Please note this article is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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