Last reviewed 22 January 2021

All businesses and homes will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption. This is to support efforts to meet a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Emissions from buildings across the UK have fallen by 17% (18MtCO2e) over the last 30 years. But the Government argues this needs to go much further to secure a reduction in emissions by 2050 — five times greater than we have achieved over this period.

In 2019, the Government introduced a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 — making the UK the first major economy in the world to legislate a zero net emissions target. 

Government estimates show that industrial buildings, retail space, offices and the hospitality industry account for around 80% of all private sector buildings energy demand.

Announcing plans to reduce building energy consumption in both businesses and housing sectors, Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “The radical new standards announced today will not only improve energy efficiency of existing homes and other buildings, but will also ensure our new homes are fit for the future, by reducing emissions from new homes by at least 75%.”

The Government is currently consulting on proposals to raise the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for commercial non-domestic private rented buildings to achieve ‘B’ ratings on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) scale, by 1 April 2030. The current rule for landlords is for properties to have a minimum EPC rating of E or above.

Other government plans also include measures to tackle:

  • ventilation — a new requirement for additional ventilation and indoor air quality monitoring in high-risk non-domestic buildings, such as offices and gyms, and reducing the risk of any potential infections being spread indoors

  • overheating in residential buildings — a new overheating mitigation requirement in the Building Regulations.

Additional proposals include making all other buildings, including existing homes, more energy efficient, have been published as part of the Future Buildings Standard consultation.

Further details are available here.