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Monumental uplift for Edinburgh hotel achieved with Level 5 EPC

Updated: Feb 20

A Formidable outing for our recent qualification far beyond our regular turf


As last year drew to a close we were asked by international portfolio holders Palm Holdings if we could bring back our expertise to survey some more of their properties. They had been delighted a few months earlier when we had achieved an EPC 'A' rating for their well-known Europoint office building in London Bridge and were keen to see if our granular approach could replicate this success and improve the EPC scores of two hotels they own and operate in Edinburgh.

why a level 5 EPC?

In order to achieve the best possible ratings we opted to use our Level 5 EPC skills to model and analyse the survey data. The hotels were large, modern and complex enough that the use of Dynamic Systems Modelling (DSM) was selected as the level of detail it offers is orders of magnitude higher than that seen in the software used in regular Level 3 or 4 EPCs and as such can yield better EPC results from the same site data.


Having previously worked with Palm Holdings we knew them to have superb facilities management and fastidious record keeping both of which are essential to the accuracy of a level 5 EPC assessment. The owners are also extremely conscious about actively reducing the environmental impact of their built assets and have incorporated energy efficiency into their day-to-day refurbishments for years and this simply wasn't being reflected in the Energy Performance Certificates that they currently held.


Duly departing Euston we emerged into the heaving Christmas crowds of Waverley Station a few hours later. Then followed two days of intense surveying with some respite to enjoy the famous local hospitality. At this stage in the story it's probably helpful to set aside one of two the hotels - whilst it did achieve a respectable score uplift it's a case study for another day. This story is about the Holyrood Aparthotel - built around the Millennium it features numerous apartment style suites for guests who want more room than the standard hotel 'bed and bathroom' set up, they also have self contained kitchen areas allowing guests to self-cater should they wish. The whole hotel had a comforting solidity to it and gave the feeling of a cosy warm refuge in spite of the raging Scottish winter outside.


Returning to London the real work began, crunching the numbers and reconstructing the hotel as a millimetre-accurate digital simulation. The Christmas and New Year holidays came and went and still we pushed forward with seemingly endless iterations of the project, we ran it through localised weather simulations and calculated the seasonal coefficients of the numerous types of HVAC system present. As we incrementally chalked up larger and larger Building Emission savings it rapidly became clear that the previous EPC with its awful 'G' rating was way off the mark. The Scottish EPC system is much more rigorous than that in England & Wales in that it counts only 15 BER points per rating band as opposed to 25 South of the border, this means a 'C' rating in London could be an 'E' in Edinburgh.

Old EPC rating of the project shown
Old EPC rating

Our new improved Level 5 EPC rating
Our new EPC rating

EPC Result

The results shown here really are impressive, at first glance it might 'only' appear to be a jump of 3 rating bands upwards but in context it's astonishing and about the best uplift result we've achieved to date.

Firstly the original rating of G - 157 really represents being below the bottom of the barrel, 57 points below to be precise. We succeeded in shaving off 102 BER points on its old score - or to put it another way:

our survey results proved that the building was responsible for 354 fewer tonnes of CO² emissions per year than was previously thought

That's the equivalent saving of the annual emissions of 43 British homes.


The surveys are lodged and the client is happy that their new EPCs which finally offer an accurate, plausible and (most importantly) workable summary of their building's energy efficiency going forward. The capital value of the hotel has likely increased and certainly it has banished regulatory intrusion for a number of years, not that these were the primary motivations for the landlord in this instance.

Perhaps the most telling fact to reflect on is the simplest - if this survey had taken place in England or Wales the hotel would have been within a hairsbreadth of an EPC 'B' rating, the Scottish system rates it as a 'D' - not because they are more draconian but because they have a firmer grasp on the urgent steps which need to be taken to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment. If as we believe we are entering an era of renewed vigour in MEES regulation those of us South of the border could do worse than look North of it for a newer, more ambitious EPC framework.


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