Is UK student housing ready for minimum EPC standards by 2030?

An expected minimum EPC B threshold could see a loss of more than 100,000 PBSA beds

May 20, 2024
  • Karl Tomusk

The threat of obsolescence grows as the UK approaches the next phase of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

Though not yet official policy, the expected threshold for lettable space in non-domestic properties is EPC B by 2030. If enacted, this limit would apply to private student accommodation, giving operators six years to prepare their portfolios for potentially stringent requirements.

An analysis of private PBSA assets reveals that at least 26% of the sector falls below an EPC B. This suggests that more than 107,000 beds risk failing to meet future standards if they are not retrofitted.

But securing an EPC B is not enough. Recent changes to the methodology for calculating EPCs favour electricity as the main heating source in a building. Therefore, the 56% of B-rated assets that use natural gas could potentially be downgraded to some extent if re-assessed.

Case studies from four student assets also demonstrate that high EPC ratings alone do not guarantee operational efficiency. In one case, a B-rated building used 79% more electricity than a C-rated one with some restrictions or incentives to reduce heating.

Read the full report for more on UK PBSA’s readiness to meet future energy targets and where the gaps are.

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