Tag Archive: energy
With energy prices becoming increasingly volatile, businesses across the regions are being urged to consider onsite energy and heat generation to save money, while also protecting natural resources.
Andrew Rollo, Head of Energy at George F. White, said: “Subsidies are reducing while energy costs are rising. The government FIT scheme for wind turbines is currently fully subscribed and grants for technologies such as solar have been greatly reduced over the past three to four years. This has dramatically reduced the attractiveness of projects which create and export energy.”
“At the same time, purchasing energy is more expensive than ever for businesses across all sectors. Onsite generation can create power for as little as 3p per kWh, which is why looking into generating your own power or heat is an essential element in forward planning for businesses.”
There are several technologies that can protect businesses against the volatility of the energy market, including ground source heat pump systems which provide good returns for those firms currently using fossil fuels to provide heat for processes, working environments and storage spaces. There are other initiatives that help shift consumption away from peak periods such as the emerging battery storage market and Demand Side Response Scheme. These are available at zero capital cost; the investment being made by a third party with benefits being shared between developer and consumer. When businesses generate their own power, they can effectively fix their energy cost for up to 25 years, which not only creates huge savings but also enables effective long term financial planning.
Andrew added: “We work independently with a wide range of businesses that consume large amounts of energy or heat, helping them to identify and deliver sustainable energy initiatives that will benefit their bottom line. We perform feasibility studies which enable clients to understand the specific benefits of the project and any associated risks before embarking on a particular energy project. Once an initiative is under way, we work closely with the client, offering a turn-key service to take the project from initial feasibility to final commissioning. On completion of the project, we can then manage the asset appropriately to optimise efficiency and ensure its profitability and longevity.”
To find out more about alternative energy initiatives and how and why they can work for your business, please contact Andrew Rollo on email@example.com or 07545 920905.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Changes: what you need to know and why
This month, we are focusing on the changes in MEES legislation, which were effective from April 1 2018. Here, our Residential Lettings Consultant, Simon Harrison and Senior Project Manager, Rob Hamilton answer some key questions…
In a nutshell, what’s changing?
“It’s now law to ensure a property that’s let out, for residential or commercial use, must meet a Minimum Efficiency Standard,” explains Simon. “A sub-standard property is one that fails to meet an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E.”
“EPCs have always come with a list of recommendations to help you improve the energy efficiency of your property.” adds Rob. “Until now, there has been no policy to enforce these changes, meaning the EPC was only advisory. However, this is no more. The new MEES regulations mean landlords will be unable to let out a property, or renew an existing tenancy or lease, if the property fails to meet the E rating. Those landlords with properties with an F or G rating will have to carry out improvement works, benefiting the property’s utility costs, the tenant, and the environment.”
How does this affect landlords of residential and commercial property?
“It affects them quite seriously,” says Rob. “A tenanted property cannot be lawfully re-let to new or existing tenants until sufficient measures are taken to improve the performance of the building to an EPC rating E or above. There are instances when the building may be exempt from these regulations; such as if the building is listed, or a temporary structure, but it is always best to check with a qualified assessor.”
“If a landlord does let out a home or business premise that is rated below the minimum standard,” explains Simon, “Then they will face civil and criminal charges for signing a new tenancy or renewing an existing one. Given that one in 10 privately rented properties currently fail to meet the new efficiency rules it’s important that landlords seek advice and are guided through the changes so that it doesn’t negatively impact their investments.”
Putting yourself in the shoes of a North East landlord, what would you be doing now?
“I would be definitely checking my current EPC to make sure it is E rated or above and speaking to my current letting agent to find out how they can help and support me through this change, in the best way for my interests,” said Simon. “Yes, I agree,” states Rob. “I would initially be checking that I have current EPCs available for all of my properties; EPCs are valid for 10 years from issue. You are then able to highlight which of your properties may be affected. In fact, in many cases, ensuring that the original information that was used to carry out the assessment was accurate, can bring the EPC rating up without having to carry out any remedial works to the property.”
If I was a landlord that hadn’t thought about this issue or looked into it, what would you suggest I do as a priority?
“I’d probably speak to a local ARLA letting agent to seek guidance on what I should be doing to ensure that I don’t accidentally fall foul of the new legislation,” explains Simon. “Yes, that’s right, I would contact a qualified property consultant or perhaps an EPC assessor to fully understand my obligations under the new ruling,” said Rob. “Penalties for non-compliance range up to a maximum of £150,000, which is pretty huge, so it’s essential that your property is let in line with the new regulations.”
On the whole, what’s the current situation like with landlords you’re working with about the changes? Are they quite prepared or are you having to do lots of work with them?
“It’s quite worrying, actually, the number of commercial landlords that are not aware that these regulations are being introduced,” expresses Rob, frankly. “George F. White is working with landlords across residential and commercial sectors about the new law, so we’re really well placed to assist landlords in ensuring their compliance, whether that’s carrying out new EPCs, scrutinising their existing EPC, or consulting on necessary remedial works.”
“On the residential side,” explains Simon, “We’ve been speaking to all landlords who are at risk of flouting the new laws and, working very closely and transparently with them, we have developed a tailored plan specific to their portfolio and investments. This has involved either organising a new EPC, arranging a Green Deal Assessor visit, or registering exemptions where applicable. Now really is the time to switch focus to the new energy efficiency laws and ensure you’re not doing anything illegal that can result in a hefty fine.”
If you’d like to discuss this further with Simon or Rob, please do contact them on the details below or visit our EPC information page:
2017 was a pivotal year for George F. White. Here, our managing partner, Robyn Peat, explains the key ingredient behind such a milestone year and why 2018 presents further opportunities.
“2017 was a fantastic year for George F. White. A key highlight was the decision to move into Newcastle to further cultivate our Planning and Development, Energy and Commercial sectors as market developments have seen an increase in demand for a more urbanised business offering. The move was a success, and following further development within these sectors we have taken the next step and have moved into a bigger and more centralised office on Westgate Road.
Another high point of 2017, and something that will continue to be a key priority this year, is the development and expansion of our team. We appointed a range of people, from Board level positions down to junior and apprentice level roles. We added more specialists to the team, appointing a new operations director, Sally Hart, and also a new regional operations manager for GFW Letting, Donna Cheney. 11 new starters joined us when we expanded into Tyne and Wear, taking us to over 120 employees nationwide.
I often get asked, so what’s your secret to continued success, Robyn? And my answer is always the same: our team. Each team member provides clarity, direction and support to help clients make informed decisions and achieve the best outcomes. To us, this secures success and, in turn, drives growth and prosperity.
Fundamentally, our ethos is people-driven, which is why the personal and professional development of our team is vital. Another highlight of last year, was the restructure that the business went through. We wanted to support internal growth and identify new and consistent opportunities for staff and services. In Northumberland alone, 11 members of the team were given well deserved promotions, recognising the dedication, hard work and talent of the individuals within the business. The restructure has given everyone, regardless of their level or role within the business, a very clear route to progression. It has also provided leadership and management opportunities for many, and shown that the Group is committed to supporting each and every team member’s development, which is rewarded and recognised appropriately.
We’ve also introduced new and updated incentives in order to give back to the team, from extra holidays and changes to the maternity package, through to vouchers and rewards. Notably, a bonus structure has now been implemented so that all members of staff will receive a percentage of the whole business’ profits for that financial year.
Entry level employment is something we strongly believe in, too. Over the past year alone, the Alnwick office has been home to three apprentices and an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) student. Over the past decade, we have supported 23 successful APC graduates and are currently recruiting for more across the business.
For me, investing in your people is without doubt the most important thing you can do as a business. By giving the right mentoring, training and tools to excellent people – the team – we’re able to give the right guidance and support to clients. Due to our consistent growth, we are actively recruiting, creating four new roles across the business. Our ability to grow our workforce is all down to putting our people at the centre of our ethos, and empowering skilled and nurtured people to thrive at George F. White.”
For more information about the current career opportunities at George F. White, please contact Liz Rhodes on firstname.lastname@example.org