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Compromise on DECs and, what’s this?

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 18-Nov-09 03:50:09 PM

Last week I tapped-out a long-overdue glance at the amended Recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) – mainly to serve as a reference point for future comments and updates, of which this is one.

Last night EU officials reached agreement on the EPBD recast, but not without compromise - as might be expected when trying to cajole 27 countries.

Display Energy Certificate

To focus on the Energy Performance Certificate sector for a sec: public buildings over 500 sqm – not the proposed 250 sqm – will need a Display Energy Certificate (DEC), with the threshold falling to 250 m2 after five years from when legislation comes into force.

EPCs on Sold or rented

The wording of this will be closely scrutinised within industry (and a certain UK political party), I’m sure, once the fine print is published. According to the official European Parliament press release, and other sources I’ve read (EurActiv, being another), there is no mention of EPCs being included within documents or advertisements; and perhaps more disconcertingly, only the word ‘sold’ and ‘rented’ appears:

Certificates will be required for any buildings constructed, sold or rented out to a new tenant


Update: I take that back. I found confirmation on

Moreover, the recast Directive also improves the information provided to consumers in the buildings energy performance certificate. Not only the energy performance certificate shall be shown to the prospective new tenant or buyer of the building, but the energy performance indicator of the building shall be stated in the sale or rental advertisements.

EU Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes political agreement on energy performance of buildings

Common European certification scheme

By 2011, the EU Commission will launch a “common European certification scheme for the energy performance of non-residential buildings”.

Given that it’s proved impossible to agree a harmonised standard across all member states, largely because of environmental and infrastructural differences, one wonders if this will actually be a scheme of the lowest common denominator.

If we do end up with a Tory Govt., therefore, one wonders how this voluntary scheme might apply – them being “anti-bureaucracy” and all that.

Other compromises made include:

Renovations of existing buildings

You gotta love this one: Existing buildings will have to improve their energy performance after major renovations, if this would be technically, functionally and economically feasible.

Allied to this, Govts. must develop national plans by 2011 to encourage renovators to install smart meters, heat pumps and heating and cooling systems using renewables.

In the amended recast of April this year, all new buildings were to produce at least as much renewable energy as they consume by 2019.

Definition of zero energy on all buildings constructed from 2021

By the end of 2018 – two years ahead of the private sector – the public sector must “take a lead” by only owning and renting buildings which have a “very high energy performance”, and which derive their energy needs, “to a very significant extent,” from renewable energy sources.

The public sector must promote the conversion of existing buildings into "nearly zero energy" standards, a term which even the Swedish EU Presidency admitted was “not a very exact expression".

All this still needs to be approved but once formally adopted, Member States will have two years to bring their national laws into line with the new directive.

It seems the Copenhagen climate conference has already slid onto the rocks, and now this.

Isn’t it about time we just looked after our own interests and stopped trying to look cool with the smokers behind the bike-sheds?

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Posts: 1
Compromise, such a dirty word.
Reply #1 on : Wed November 18, 2009, 21:16:25
It's a shame that the stark economic reality which will ensue is not encouragement enough to improve the energy performance of everything not only buildings.

Designers and industry are beginning to see the reality of this very point, lower down the food chain takes a little longer. Unfortunately the politicians seem to take the longest of all.

As for public sector property leading the way, in many respects they already do in my neck of the woods. Here in Bristol the council is miles ahead of the rest of the city. Really focusing on improving the efficiency of the building stock and introducing renewables, this will only continue as time goes by.

Having said that, there is a roaring trade in second hand condensing boilers and it looks like this is soon to include solar panels ;)
Posts: 1
Re: Compromise on DECs and, what’s this?
Reply #2 on : Mon November 23, 2009, 18:42:05
Agreed Pete.

It's the builders-on-the-street I wonder about - I know a few who haven't a clue about what has, and what is, happening with regard to all these new regs.

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