Government proposes to abolish energy ratings for over 50,000 public buildings

Published:  12 February, 2015

The government has announced proposals which could see Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for 54,000 public buildings in England and Wales abolished.

In a consultation published yesterday (11 February 2015), the Department for Communities & Local Government said it was considering “removing the legal requirement” for DECs in public buildings such as town halls, swimming pools and schools.

Since 2008, all public buildings over 1,000m² have been required to have a DEC, which shows the energy performance of the building based on its actual annual energy consumption and the CO2 emissions that result from that energy use. Buildings with a total floor area of between 500m² and 1,000m² are required to have a DEC every 10 years.

The government now suggests that DECs could be abolished on the basis that current regulations may have exceeded the requirements of EU legislation when transposing Directives into UK law.

John Alker, acting chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, has heavily criticised the proposals. “Any suggestion of scrapping DECs for public buildings simply beggars belief,” he said. “Government time and again trots out the mantra of not ‘gold-plating’ EU requirements to minimise administrative costs, but completely misses the potential benefits that going further offers.

“There are clear examples – including the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s own headquarters – where DECs have helped public bodies to reduce their energy use and slash bills by an amount that hugely outweighs the administrative costs.

“Rather than rowing back on DECs, government needs to ensure they are better enforced, with a view to extending them beyond public buildings.”

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