Article: Energy certificates
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is intended to reduce the amount of energy used and carbon produced by buildings. The requirements were originally introduced in England and Wales by the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.
On 9 January 2013, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 took effect. This consolidated and revoked all previous regulations.
The regulations require that:
- Energy performance certificates (EPC's) are produced for certain dwellings and non dwellings.
- Display energy certificates (DEC's) are produced for large public buildings.
- Air conditioning equipment above a certain size is inspected.
Energy performance certificates (EPC's), set out the energy efficiency rating of buildings. They are required when buildings are built, sold or rented if they have a roof and walls and use energy to condition an indoor climate. If a building contains separate units (for example a block of flats), each unit needs an EPC, but they are not required for shared bedsit type accommodation.
Buildings that do not need an energy performance certificate include:
- Places of worship.
- Temporary buildings.
- Stand-alone buildings with a floor area of less than 50 square metres.
- Industrial and agricultural buildings with low energy requirements.
- Protected buildings, where compliance with energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.
- Rented dwellings that continue to be occupied by the same tenant since before 1 October 2008.
- Buildings that are suitable for demolition.
Buildings are rated from A to G on EPC's, with A representing a very efficient building and G a very inefficient building.
EPC's are provided by accredited energy assessors who will also provide a recommendation report to help owners and occupiers make their building more energy efficient, and may identify recommendations that could be eligible for Green Deal financing. Currently, there is no requirement to follow the recommendations, however, the Energy Act 2011 stipulates that from 2018 it will be illegal to let buildings that do not meet minimum energy performance standards.
EPC's are valid for 10 years. They must be made available free of charge to prospective buyers or tenants at the earliest opportunity, and where EPC's are available, adverts must show the energy rating of a building (although it is no longer necessary to attach the front page of the EPC to written material).
For commercial buildings larger than 500 square metres that are frequently visited by the public, an EPC must be displayed if one is available.
For new buildings, obtaining an EPC is the responsibility of the person carrying out the construction.
Display energy certificates (DEC's) show the energy performance of a building based on actual energy consumption. They are intended to raise public awareness of the energy use of buildings. Buildings are rated from A to G on DEC's, with A representing a very efficient building and G a not very efficient building. DEC's should be displayed prominently in a place visible to the public.
DEC's are required for buildings that:
- have a roof and walls, and;
- use energy to condition an indoor climate, and;
- have a total usable floor area of over 500 square metres, and;
- are occupied by public authorities, and ;
- are frequently visited by the public.
They are valid for one year and must be updated annually, although DEC's for buildings less than 1,000 square metres are valid for 10 years.
An advisory report must also be prepared every seven years giving recommendations to owners and occupiers about making their building more energy efficient.
The government intends to roll-out DEC's to a wider range of buildings. They can already be prepared on a voluntary basis for non-public buildings, and it is expected that this will become mandatory in the future.
 Air conditioning inspections
The regulations require that air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kw are inspected every 5 years. An inspection report is then produced providing information about the efficiency of the system and advice about how to improve it. There is no requirement to act on the recommendations.
 Accuracy of energy performance certificates
Research has shown that EPC's may not accurately reflect the actual energy use of buildings. For example, research presented at the COBRA 2012 conference suggested that "...in low labelled dwellings the energy use is less than expected, in the high labelled dwellings the energy use is somewhat higher than expected" (ref RICS: Effectiveness of EPC for the Existing Housing Stock). In addition, a 2012 report by Jones Lang LaSalle and the Better Buildings Partnership, that studied more than 200 buildings, found that "...EPCs alone are not sufficient in delivering the Government’s decarbonisation targets nor are they capable of accurately portraying a building’s true energy efficiency" (ref Jones Lang LaSalle: A Tale of Two buildings. Are EPCs a true indicator of energy efficiency?)
 Find out more
 Related pages on Designing Buildings Wiki
- CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.
- Emission rates.
- Energy Act.
- Energy related products regulations.
- Energy targets.
- Green Deal.
- Listed buildings.
- Zero carbon homes.
- Zero carbon non-domestic buildings.
 External references
- Legislation: Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales).
- Department for Communities and Local Government: A guide to energy performance certificates for the construction, sale and let of non-dwellings.
- Department for Communities and Local Government: A guide to energy performance certificates for the construction, sale and let of dwellings.
- Department for Communities and Local Government: A guide to display energy certificates and advisory reports for public buildings.
- Department for Communities and Local Government: A guide to air conditioning inspections for buildings.
- Department for Communities and Local Government: Local weights and measures authority guidance for energy performance certificates and air conditioning inspections for buildings.
- Department for Communities and Local Government: Recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive - impact assessment.
- Guild of residential landlords: Changes to EPC Regulations 2013.
- RICS: Effectiveness of EPC for the Existing Housing Stock. September 2012.
- Jones Lang LaSalle: A Tale of Two buildings. Are EPCs a true indicator of energy efficiency? 2012.