Display Energy Certificates required this week

Public buildings must display energy-efficiency ratings from Wednesday

Display Energy Certificates (DECs) were introduced by the 2007 Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations, which implement a 2002 EU Directive. The regulations also include requirements for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for newly built properties and properties that are rented out or sold.

EPCs have been rolled out according to the size of a development since August 2007 for homes and April 2008 for commercial buildings. From this week, they will be required for all homes and all commercial buildings, no matter what their size.

DECs are only required by public buildings with a floor area of more than 1,000m2 and, from 1 October, they must be displayed in a public area of the building. The certificates include details of the building’s energy use, as measured by electricity, gas and other meters, plus a colour-coded A-G rating of performance, based on annual carbon dioxide emissions per square metre of floor area. The rating system is familiar to the public because it is similar to the system used to display the efficiency of new electrical appliances.

Both types of certificate aim to raise awareness of the energy consumption of buildings and encourage energy efficiency measures. DECs are valid for one year and EPCs for ten.

The launch of the certificates proved embarrassing for the Communities Department (DCLG) whose own headquarters in London scored only an F-rating. Eland House in Westminster is a ten-year-old office block but scored barely above the bottom of the scale in terms of efficiency.

A statement on the department’s website says: “An energy efficiency action plan is now being developed to help improve next year's rating and replace equipment nearing end of life based on the advisory report that comes with the DEC.”