Take a chance on MEES

Energy efficiency has always been high on our agenda in the building controls sector but now set to quickly rise up the priority list. Many of you are already aware of the recent introduction of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) that came into full effect on 1stApril 2018. Simply put, this new standard has made it unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is F or G –  it’s as simple as that. This has raised many discussions and concerns in the building controls industry over the past few months…

Although awareness about MEES has been in the media over the past few years, the statistics from energy firm arbnco showed that some commercial real estate investors and subsequent stakeholders are not picking up the message. As a result, they arenot meeting the energy efficiency requirements, not helping the environment or increasing wellbeing in our buildings.

Current statistics call for concern as the energy efficiency of almost 20% of commercial buildings has actually deteriorated despite the recent introduction of MEES, according to recent simulations undertaken by arbnco. A failure to meet the minimum requirement of MEES will lead to substantial financial penalties which can be issued for non-compliance, ranging from £4,000 to a hefty £150,000. But despite this, the same research showed that 17.7% of the 3,620 buildings on its database have lower ratings now than a year ago, and one in 10 has fallen below E. 15% of properties are now rated F or G, making them unlettable to new tenants or those looking to renew their leases…

These statistics demonstrate that the message isn’t getting through and highlight the importance of working with landlords to manage the energy in their buildings and get them above EPC Rating F & G. Engagement with them is key to identify the best way to achieve the MEES energy efficiency standard through innovative control as well as taking a holistic approach. This will help to increase energy efficiency and overall wellbeing in our buildings of today and tomorrow.

One of many excellent examples which outlines a smart way to tackle energy usage and increase wellbeing is the recent BCIA 2018 Awards winner of the Technical Innovation of the Year-Projects category, Demand Logic for their Installation at 155 Moorgate.

Demand Logic installed their Data Acquisition Device (DAD) to immediately feed data into the analytics system and connect through the site BMS. This extracted the BMS data so that a historical picture could be developed. This in turn allowed for numerous layers of data to be viewed simultaneously so that the source of issues can be quickly identified. Subsequently after building data was analysed, temperature complaints were reduced by 50% significantly improving wellbeing.

What’s more, the system identified that a handful of smaller pieces of equipment were faulty and calling for constant cooling unnecessarily. These were in turn, overriding the BMS and causing the full system to run continuously resulting in significant energy wastage. This was quickly identified, and remedies proposed had potential savings of over £25,000 per year.

This is just one of many cases which showcases the key benefits that pioneering new ideas and using cutting edge technology in existing buildings can achieve in improving energy efficiency and wellbeing. It can also reduce the overall operating costs when future proofing commercial buildings.

Building controls are complex yet vital in meeting the challenge and opportunity that MEES present. But the only way we can ensure that our buildings are not just meeting but exceeding the minimum efficiency standards, is through collaboration with building owners/occupiers and by continuing to focus on innovation, which will significantly increase energy efficiency and move those 15% of buildings out of the F & G unlettable category.