UK Energy Act 2011: Plan ahead with thermal imaging

Category: Discover & Diagnose Energy Inefficiencies

Thermal Imaging

As the 2018 deadline of the Energy Act 2011 edges closer, who can really approach it with confidence?

The shrewdest commercial and social landlords are assessing and reassessing their property stock now – fully aware that today’s more stringent EPC software has rendered previous energy performance ratings invalid. As processes and legislation develop, regular assessment is the only way to ensure your building’s future compliance.

That’s why a non-intrusive, speedy and low cost infrared thermographic survey is not simply the best option for measuring – it’s the smartest one. 

The legislation and the future 

Landlords and those interested in acquiring leasehold properties have been under increasing pressure in recent months to familiarise themselves with the new legislation.

As things stand, the UK Government’s Energy Act 2011 means any property which fails to achieve at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E by the deadline will face sustainable obsolescence – making it illegal for both domestic and commercial properties to be rented.

The consequences of this are obvious and potentially disastrous for private landlords, who could face the prospect of managing an unusable and costly property stock.

Meanwhile, from 2016, a tenant will be entitled to demand measures recommended by the EPC to be carried out by their landlord. This is ominous, especially as recent research by National Energy Services revealed that 61% of the UK’s commercial buildings do not have an EPC lodged.

Are you really ready? 

Yet, the future is not just uncertain for the landlords of these properties. As EPC software has developed, it is now not uncommon for reassessment to reveal drastic disparity between past and present results. Indeed many buildings drop one or two bands, leaving those rated at D and E in very precarious territory.

Put simply – unless you have been assessed recently, you do not know the EPC rating of your building. 

Indeed, buildings which need significant refurbishment may well face an even greater race against time, as demand for required services heats up closer to the deadline. As such, now is the time for all landlords to be pro-active and ensure they approach the rapidly pending deadline with a peace of mind that can translate to tenants – many of whom are beginning to view energy efficiency as one of the most important factors when considering where to rent.

Social landlords 

Although no such direct legislation exists for affordable housing providers, many leading organisation are already taking action, fully aware of the importance of energy efficiency in terms of fuel poverty, the cost of energy bills, tenant welfare and their own reputation.

At present, only 33 per cent of social housing tenants even receive EPC information (Energy Saving Trust) – a figure that is sure to be addressed in future legislation.

Aberdeen City Council is an example of one organisation which has been pro-active with its response to increasing awareness of energy efficiency. Using IRT Surveys, it recently assessed 22,000 of its social housing properties as part of an insulation refurbishment program.

This resulted in all inconsistent and poorly insulated properties being re-insulated, subsequently surpassing Scottish Housing Stock Standards and meeting EEC requirements.

Plan ahead with a thermographic survey 

Financial help exists in the form of Government schemes such as the Green Deal and ECO, but knowing where to start can be a daunting prospect.

Traditionally, the process of identifying energy saving methods would be informed but ultimately speculative, involving highly skilled operatives conducting destructive, expensive and time consuming tests on your building(s).

In essence, therefore, the Energy Act 2011 has put all the country on a low carbon diet without an accurate weight reading at the start and few methods of reading at the end.

This results in a huge potential for overwhelmed landlords and facilities managers to make rash, ill-advised decisions, based purely on bravado and speculative boasts of savings, both energy and financial, from companies trying to push their products.

In contrast, an average thermal image takes around three seconds to capture and, using IRT’s patented software, Envision, can be quantified for energy loss. In other words, for the first time ever, you can literally see where energy loss is occurring – all in a quick and non-destructive way.

The visibility means clients can prioritise their refurbishment programmes and approach them with a concrete knowledge of return of investment ahead of any capital expenditure.

As well as revolutionising building surveying in terms of cost, accuracy and speed, the key to the whole process is impartiality. While the initial thermographic survey tells you where you are, IRT’s carbon dashboard can tell you the path you should follow to get to where you want to go – be it in terms of a higher EPC rating or Green Deal and ECO measures – with no vested interest in any particular technology or company.

We have already surveyed thousands of properties across the world and helped clients big and small plan for the future with unprecedented confidence. Projects have ranged from identifying £227,000 worth of yearly savings for Midlothian Council on 1700 assessed properties, to £60,000 following energy calculations for a cold storage unit on an English property.

The presence of an impartial partner by your side at a time in which the importance of energy efficiency is soaring in the country is a huge source of comfort for our clients.

In terms of 2018, the clock is ticking – and only a thermographic survey can prevent the sleepless nights.