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Energy Performance Certificates
An energy performance certificate (or EPC) is a certificate containing information on the energy efficiency of a building. It is produced by a qualified “energy assessor” who inspects the building and measures its floor space, the type of construction, energy saving features, heating and air cooling systems.
The certificate contains an “asset rating” ranging from A to G with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. It also contains a “recommendation report” listing suggestions for the improvement of the energy performance of the building including cost-effective alterations and measures that will require a higher level of expenditure.
When a building is sold or let out the seller or landlord must provide a copy of the EPC free of charge to the buyer or tenant. The obligation is triggered on the first of the following to occur:
When a building is erected or converted the EPC must be provided before the building inspector will issue the building regulations completion certificate.
But EPCs are not required for:
The EPC requirements have been phased in as follows:
EPCs allow potential buyers or tenants to assess the energy efficiency of a building and the recommendation reports provide the occupier with advice on how to make improvements to the energy performance of a building.
The building sector accounts for approximately 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption and 50% of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions. The European Commission passed the “Energy Performance of Buildings Directive” in 2002 which aimed to promote improved energy efficiency in both residential and commercial buildings in the EU. The UK Government had to implement the EPB Directive by 4 January 2006 and then had a further 3 years to bring it into force. The Government has implemented the Directive in two stages:
Failure to comply with the EPC regime can result in a fine of between £500 and £5,000.
Display Energy Certificates
DECs are required for buildings with a useful floor area of over 1,000 sq m (10,763 sq ft) occupied by public authorities and institutions (central and local government, NHS trusts, schools, police, courts, prisons, MOD, army, executive agencies and statutory executive bodies) providing public services to a large number of persons and which are therefore frequently visited by those persons (schools, leisure centres - but not private clubs - hospitals, municipal golf clubhouses, public libraries, museums and art galleries).
A DEC is similar to an EPC but in addition to the information reviewed for an EPC, the energy assessor when preparing a DEC looks at the actual energy consumption of the building during its use by taking meter readings.
It is suggested that it in addition to public authorities and institutions who are obliged to display DECs, companies may want to commission DECs in order to analyse the energy efficiency of and energy consumption at buildings they occupy in order to both reduce their energy costs and improve their corporate social responsibility profile.
Inspection of air conditioning systems
The EPB Regulations 2007 impose an obligation on those who have control of air conditioning systems to ensure that the system is inspected at least every 5 years. Following inspection the energy assessor must produce a report which will include an assessment of the efficiency of the system and the size of the system compared to the air cooling requirements of the building as well as advice on possible improvements.
For systems of any size installed after 1 January 2008 the first inspection must be carried out within 5 years of the system being put into service.
For systems installed before 1 January 2008, the first inspection for systems of more than 250kW must be carried out by 4 January 2009 and for systems of more than 12kW the first inspection must be carried out by 4 January 2011.