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‘Display energy certificates’ demand UK-GBC

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has called for the mandatory display of an A-G rating for the energy efficiency of all non-residential buildings, to drive efficiency, cut costs, and to encourage refurbishment. It said the measure should be introduced as part of the Energy Bill.

Display Energy Certificates (DECs) provide both an ‘at-a-glance indicator’ and detailed technical information on the energy performance of buildings.

The recommendations, including detailed proposals to implement a practical roll-out, are the results of an in-depth consultation with a cross-section of UK-GBC members, which was launched at an event with the Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell MP. Key recommendations include:

• Display Energy Certificates (DECs) should become mandatory for all non-domestic building occupiers, with a phased roll out starting in 2012.
• Landlords should also be required to display certificates showing the energy efficiency of the services they provide. Landlords must pass data to occupiers; this should be based on the Landlord’s Energy Statement (LES) which has been developed by the private sector.
• DECs should be used to produce a range of publicly accessible league tables based on occupiers, landlords, sectors, buildings types and uses. This could replace the current Carbon Reduction Commitment league table for those organisations in the buildings sector.
Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council said: “If you want to go on a diet, you first find out how much you weigh. The property sector urgently needs to go on an energy diet but to do so, it has to be able to accurately measure and report on its energy use. Display Energy Certificates do exactly that and should be rolled out to all buildings as soon as practically possible.

“There is a window of opportunity to do this in the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament. A to G ratings for commercial buildings will provide a reputational driver for both landlords and tenants to take energy use more seriously, leading to carbon and financial savings.”

Justin Snoxall, Head of Business Group, 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.

The British Property Federation has also welcomed the recommendation. Patrick Brown, director of sustainability and construction, said: “When you think that the majority of non-domestic buildings are rented, lots of potential carbon savings arising from better use of buildings should be unlocked via the simple step of collecting energy use data and reporting it.

“We especially welcome reference in today’s report to the free-to-use tool which we developed with the Carbon Trust – the Landlord Energy Statement and Tenant Energy Review (LES-TER) – which helps landlords and tenants to report to each other on energy use.”