Make display energy certificates mandatory for business, say property firms

UK Green Building Council recommends compulsory certificates should replace CRC league table

Company offices, shopping centres and other types of non-domestic buildings should have to display their energy efficiency rating, according to a group of property firms on the UK Green Building Council (GBC).

Display Energy Certificates (DECs) should be used to replace the performance league table under the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, they maintain.

The UK-GBC group includes property owners, managers and investors such as Aviva, British Land, Hammerson and Land Securities.

DECs are currently compulsory for all public buildings more than 1,000 square metres, but not for private sector buildings. The UK-GBC says there is growing evidence that DECs are encouraging public bodies to improve building energy efficiency. It expects the discipline of gathering energy use data for DECs will drive improvements in the private sector as well.

The UK-GBC recommends that the government should make DECs compulsory from 2012 through the Energy Bill currently before Parliament (ENDS Report, December 2010).

The roll-out should start with multi-let, non-domestic buildings over 1,000m2. It should be mandatory for landlords to pass energy data to occupiers so they can produce DECs.

In the first year, building occupiers and landlords would only be required to collect energy data for DECs, but not display it, to allow the scheme to be refined if necessary. DECs would have to be displayed from 2013.

UK-GBC recommends DECs could be used to produce the CRC league table of performance for regulated organisations. It says the current league table metrics, based on absolute emissions and carbon intensity, are unfair because they compare organisations of different types.

UK-GBC says further work is needed to develop the methodology for DEC-based league tables. For instance, how emissions from industrial processes would be collected and reported.

Justin Snoxall, head of business group at British Land said: “DECs can play a significant role for the carbon agenda in non-domestic buildings, both to influence market change and to unite policies. The government DEC experience in buildings since 2008 has produced numerous examples of year-on-year reductions in energy.

"In many cases public exposure of energy performance has motivated action. The opportunity is to replicate these successes in the private sector to influence future letting requirements of occupiers and to encourage greater action by occupiers and landlords together.”

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