Since 1st October 2008 public buildings in the UK over 1,000m2 must display a Display Energy Certificate prominently at all times. These Certificates were introduced by the British Government in response to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which all EU member states were required to implement by January 2009.

Display Energy Certificates are designed to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings. They are based upon actual energy usage of a building and increase transparency about the energy efficiency of public buildings. The certificate looks similar to the energy labels provided on new cars and electrical appliances such as fridges and freezers – it uses a similar scale for energy efficiency, i.e. from A to G with A being the most efficient and G the least. The A3 sized certificate is valid for one year and is accompanied by an Advisory Report (AR) which is valid for seven years. The advisory report is designed to help building owners occupiers to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings so that future Display Energy Certificates show a better rating. ARs do not need to be displayed, but must be available

Display Energy Certificates and ARs must be undertaken by an accredited energy assessor using Government approved software. In order to produce the Display Energy Certificate the energy assessor needs to know the gross internal floor area of the building and the operating hours together with actual meter readings or consignment notes for all fuels used during the year of assessment. It is, therefore, very important for owners and occupiers of public buildings over 1,000m2 to maintain good records of fuel used. If the energy assessor does not have access to suitable and sufficient information then the software will generate a default G rating!

The penalty for failing to display a Display Energy Certificate where required is GBP500 and the penalty for not having an advisory report available is GBP1,000.

In the future the Government will extend the requirement to smaller public buildings and perhaps to large privately owned buildings which the public have access to, such as supermarkets. It is, however, surely right that the public sector should lead the way in making buildings more energy efficient, thereby reducing the burden of high fuel costs on the tax payer and helping to reduce Britain’s carbon footprint with a view to meeting the ambitious targets that the Government has set itself.

This article was written by Brian for ncea: national commercial energy assessors, a leading firm of RICS Accredited Commercial Energy Assessors providing Display Energy Certificates throughout the UK. Over time Display Energy Certificates will become an increasingly common sight when entering a public building in the UK.

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