Don’t Get Caught Out By Changes to Business Energy Legislation
Recent changes to the Energy Act 2011 mean that, from 2018, all commercial properties will be required to have a minimum energy rating of ‘E’. The business energy rating scale will remain the same, between ‘A’ and ‘G’ ratings. This not only affects landlords who lease commercial properties to businesses, but will also affect businesses who own their premises should they decide to sell or transfer ownership.
Research from commercial estate agent Cushman & Wakefield show that an estimated 20 percent of businesses occupying commercial properties currently do not meet the minimum standard for business energy, and that an additional 19 percent lie just above the threshold, meaning that even the smallest of changes in the way they use business energy could have a significant effect on their rating. Don’t get caught out with changes to business energy legislation – non-compliance could cost you £150,000.
As with household energy ratings, business energy ratings are confirmed via an EPC, or energy performance certificate, which is a legal requirement when a property is transferred, rented, or sold. The rating is determined by a number of factors, including efficiency of appliances, insulation, and the type of business energy being utilised in the building. Here are some ways to boost your energy rating:
Gaps in door frames or window frames that enable air – and heat – to ‘leak’ out of the building will be taken into consideration when producing an EPC. Older buildings are typically more at risk of leaks, but don’t worry – air filtration doesn’t have a significant impact upon a business energy rating. Despite this, it’s important to seal any gaps to minimise leaks as much as possible.
Boiler efficiency will be taken into account when producing an EPC. The boiler installed at the premises will be subjected to the Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK rating system (SEDBUK). It may be necessary to upgrade a boiler to improve business energy efficiency and meet the requirements for commercial energy performance certificates from 2018 onwards.
Office buildings that make use of an air conditioning system may be penalised in their business energy ratings due to the inefficiency of these machines. Businesses that do not meet the proposed guidelines may wish to consider looking into more natural cooling techniques, such as boosting shading in the property using blinds, or removing internal heat through roof vents.
Is ADSL2+ A Good Leased Line Alternative?
Leased lines for businesses are rapidly rising in popularity as more and more companies in the UK report that a fast and reliable connection is essential for day-to-day operations. However, it’s no secret that leased lines for businesses are more costly than a standard ADSL line, and these prices are playing a large role in restricting the rollout of dedicated connections. A question that many are now asking is whether an upgrade to the less expensive ADSL2+ is a good alternative to leased lines for businesses.
ADSL2+ is an early example of what is being described as a ‘ADSL leased line’ for businesses, and is now offered by many providers in the UK as an upgrade option to standard ADSL. While ADSL2+ still provides an asymmetrical connection, much like a regular ADSL line, it does boost speeds. It most notably boosts upload speeds which are notoriously slow with an ADSL connection, and are beginning to hamper efforts to improve business communications through the greater use of voIP services and cloud computing.
So could ADSL2+ be the solution many businesses have been looking for? Is it a good alternative to leased lines for businesses? The answer isn’t quite so clear cut. There’s no denying that an ADSL2+ connection, when compared to a regular ADSL connection, can offer many advantages to businesses who are finding that their speeds are frequently too slow for their evolving needs. However, it doesn’t seem sensible to compare a leased line for businesses with an ADSL2+ connection. They’re too different.
Quite simply, ADSL2+ can be a beneficial broadband product, but it doesn’t compare to leased lines for businesses. Here are just a few ways in which the two connections differ significantly:
Leased lines for businesses are not contended. Their ratio is 1:1, giving your business exclusive use of the connection. Speeds are not affected by other users. While ADSL2+ delivers faster speeds, it is still a contended connection, with a typical contention ratio between 50:1 and 20:1.
Services such as BT’s leased lines for businesses have no ‘fair usage’ policies, because they’re uncontended. This means that there’s no usage limits or restrictions – and no additional fees. Because ADSL2+ connections are contended, they are still metered, and restrictions may apply.
With leased lines for businesses, you choose the symmetrical speed, and you get it. You may pay more or less for that speed depending on your location, but that is the speed you will receive. With ADSL2+ connections, your speed may be limited by your distance from the local exchange.
If your business has ‘outgrown’ its ADSL connection, an upgrade to an ADSL2+ connection can be beneficial. However, it’s important not to expect the same benefits as you’d get from a leased line. Leased lines for businesses are the only way to enjoy the real leased line experience. It’s worth finding out more about leased lines – leased line providers, costs, and so on – before making a decision.