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Massive expansion in Display Energy Certificates

We could soon see the next step in a process which could lead to a massive expansion in the use of Display Energy Certificates.

September should hopefully see the second reading of an amendment which could add a clause to the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament, requiring commercial premises to have Display Energy Certificates for the first time, and the legislation could take effect by 2013 or earlier.

Buildings are estimated to account for 40% of European energy use, but the government has no detailed information on exactly how much energy commercial buildings are using. They will start getting this information for the first time if the new legislation goes ahead.

But we won’t know for a couple of years at least which commercial buildings are likely to be affected. We could see a requirement for every local pub and garage, and every shop in the High Street to have a DEC on the wall, but it is more likely to be limited just to large stores in out of town retail parks.

These certificates have been required since October 2008, but you could be forgiven for being blissfully ignorant of them, because so far they have made little or no public impact.

Right now they are only required for public buildings larger than 1,000m2, which means that you might spot a DEC on the wall at your local library if you knew what to look for, but that’s about it as far as most people are concerned.

However these underappreciated bits of paper can do something that none of the other energy certificates in the government’s green armoury can achieve.

Their great value is that unlike Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificates for example, which are based on notional energy use in business premises, DECs are based on the actual use of energy in the building, and a report on possible improvements is also included.

In addition, unlike the 10 year lifespan of EPCs, DECs are required annually, which means surveys provide a record of how – and how much – energy is used in buildings, and how well users are reducing that use, and making the premises more energy efficient.

There is the potential for visitors to the building to be involved, since the DEC has to be displayed where the public can see it.

It would be naive to expect that most people would know or care what it was, but the fact that it is on show does put pressure on the occupier to raise their game in terms of energy efficiency, since the certificate gives an indication of how energy efficient the building is, based on the A to G coloured bars familiar from EPCs, and fridge freezers for that matter, and will also show how well energy efficiency improvements are being implemented.

A special Display Energy Certificate Assessor qualification is needed for anyone carrying out this work, and training courses can cost well over £1,000, but experienced energy assessors may be able to use an Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning route, which can reduce the cost.

Written by Terry Wardle, Editor of Energy Assessor Magazine

1 Comment to Massive expansion in Display Energy Certificates

  1. Romby's Gravatar Romby
    January 23, 2014 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    Short, sweet, to the point, FRe-EExactly as information should be!

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