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What if Display Energy Certificates were issued like tax discs?

Currently, it is only mandatory for public buildings which are greater than 1,000sqm to show a valid Display Energy Certificate. But from January 2013 this threshold is being dropped to cover public buildings which are larger than 500sqm.

“How much more hassle can another energy report be?” I hear you cry… rather than giving the usual techie explanation, let’s look at it this in a different way... Somewhere, in a parallel universe….

Imagine you have bought a brand new car. The little emissions sticker on the windscreen says this vehicle gets a B-Rating on fuel consumption… then imagine you drive it in your usual Sebastian Vettel style and halve the predicted miles per gallon rate… then imagine that every year you get sent a piece of paper which shows how your driving style means the B-Rated car is actually performing as an F Rated car. Then imagine you need to show off this piece of paper just like a tax disc, so the whole world can see what a bad driver you are.

Maybe you’re not the only driver… maybe your teenager drives it more than you… you’re actually a very good driver, but others who use it are letting the side down… you have no control over how the car’s driven, but you still have to show the efficiency rating on public view, every year. The car gets older, it becomes less efficient… then you forget to send one petrol receipt to the DVEA (Drive and Vehicle Emissions Agency) and then you get stuck with a G-Rating for a full twelve months.

Now apply all of the above to a building which you don’t own but that you’re responsible for, and the ‘drivers’ are every employee, volunteer and consultant that walks through the door. That’s a Display Energy Certificate.

Now do have pity on public building managers? Remember that plans to bring DEC’s into the commercial sector at a mandatory level have been considered, but the Government has decided to put this on hold… probably while they investigate my ‘DVEA’ concept.

In order to produce a valid DEC, a qualified assessor needs to have access to the building’s electricity, heating and hot water bills from the past twelve months. If just one meter reading is missing, the building gets a G-Rating. No ifs, no buts

...And whether the report shows an astounding A or a not-s-glowing G, it is a legal requirement to put your rating on an A3 page, and have it in full public display at all times. Failure to do this could lead to a £500 fine.

Any commercial building can ‘opt in’ and have a DEC commissioned, but as it’s an extra cost we find there’s only a handful of business owners who are willing to do this – and that’s usually to show off their green credentials.

So even though this change to DEC’s isn’t due for another five months, people who are in charge of smaller public buildings across the country are being reminded to store all their energy bills in a safe place, or face the risk of receiving a worst-case energy rating when we get to next January.

For more information on Display Energy Certificates, contact Energist UK on 08458 386 387.

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 05.07.2012.