It is anticipated that the Government may consider providing financial incentives to assist in the exercise of working towards improving the performance of efficiency of buildings. It may also be that there is an increase in grants for homeowners and commercial enterprises. In some publications it has been commented that there may be preferential interest rates from lenders for energy efficient buildings. In addition, some local authorities in England have piloted schemes whereby there are council tax rebates. There are also many ideas emerging in the market place as to methods of reducing carbon emissions by adjusting current practices. Simple examples of this include switching off lights in unoccupied areas, reducing the average temperature setting out heating controls and reusing and recycling materials. The immediate benefits manifest themselves as financial savings, though it is the case that this alone will not suffice to meet the targets set by the Government. Investment in renewable energy sources is needed too.
Some larger commercial organisations are preparing in advance for the introduction by engaging energy assessors who specialise in the larger commercial sector now, to ensure that they are in a position to comply with the regulations from the relevant commencement date. Property Consultants are being employed to prepare the information used to calculate the efficiency of buildings, namely, floor layout, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, energy consumption, control systems and also the age and location of buildings. This, however, may not be possible for many small or middle sized commercial organisations who will also be affected by the need for an EPC.
There is also speculation that it may be too difficult for auction vendors to comply, particularly in the case of portfolios of properties. Compliance may be a concern. The regulations however have provided additional rights for local authorities. The regulations permit disclosure by registered EPC's to local authorities, which will assist in the enforcement of the building regulations in relation to EPC's.
There are still ongoing discussions between the Government and the commercial property sector prior to the commencement of the regulations. It is widely known that the ongoing consultations will take time and the guidance and training of sufficient number of assessors is also behind schedule.
The regulations have been introduced to comply with the European Parliament and Council Directive from 2002. This is part of an overall programme to control the impact of climate change particularly given the high carbon emission from buildings. It is an essential part of the control of this major contributor to global warming for the future. This first stage of regulations deals with reporting and recommendations. An institutional awareness of the regulations has led many organisations to make the protection of the environment a priority as part of their corporate and social responsibility strategy. Although there are no sanctions for buildings which are of an inefficient rating, it is anticipated that the marketplace may determine some penalty as buildings with a better energy efficiency rating may be selected above those falling below recommended standards.