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What is a Level 5 EPC? Understanding the Highest Standard in Energy Performance Certification

Updated: Feb 26

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are crucial in assessing the energy efficiency of buildings in the UK, and understanding the differences between Level 3, 4, and 5 EPCs is key for property owners, developers, and tenants. Among these, Level 5 EPCs represent the pinnacle of energy performance assessment, primarily due to their complexity and the use of Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM).

What Sets Level 5 EPCs Apart?

Level 5 EPCs are mandatory for buildings with complex features and services, such as high levels of glazing, advanced ventilation systems, significant renewable energy installations, multi-storey glass atria and automatic blind systems. Often these are large commercial or public buildings, where standard assessment methods used for Level 3 and 4 EPCs are inadequate.

Comparison with Level 3 and 4 EPCs

Level 3 EPCs are generally for simpler, smaller commercial buildings without complex heating or cooling systems. Level 4 EPCs step up in complexity, suitable for buildings with more advanced HVAC systems but still within the confines of simpler construction. In contrast, Level 5 buildings, due to their complexity, cannot be accurately modeled using the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) used for Level 3 and 4 assessments which, it must be said suit the vast majority of commercial buildings.

The Role of Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM) in Level 5 EPCs

DSM is a sophisticated method of assessing a building's energy performance, offering a more detailed and dynamic approach than SBEM. It takes into account a wide range of variables, including localised weather data, pinpoint building orientation, and the interaction between different surrounding buildings. This results in a more precise representation of the building's energy usage and efficiency.

Why is a Level 5 EPC More Comprehensive?

The precision of DSM means that Level 5 EPCs can provide more accurate, tailored recommendations for energy efficiency improvements. This level of detail is essential for high-performance buildings, where standard energy-saving measures may not be as effective or applicable.

Importance for Building Owners and Developers

For owners and developers of complex buildings, obtaining a Level 5 EPC is not only a regulatory requirement but also a valuable tool for improving energy efficiency, reducing operational costs, and enhancing the building's value. It provides a detailed roadmap for sustainable building management and can significantly contribute to achieving environmental certifications. We are happy to offer level 5 DSM assessments to both those buildings which require them as well as a premium service for building owners who are keen for the most accurate (and often better) EPC result.

(Edit Feb 2024):

Level 5 Case Study - huge rating uplift

Below is an clip from our full Level 5 EPC case study of the massive uplift we achieved using Level 5 DSM on a hotel:-

Read more about Level 5 EPCs in London on our dedicated service page.

Do please get in touch today for any level 5 queries.

Also posted to Medium


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