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Answers to your DEC questions
Display Energy Certificates (DECs) promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings and form part of the final implementation in England and Wales of the European Directive
2002/91/EC on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD).
The obligations came into force on 1 October 2008 for public authorities and institutions providing public services to a large number of people that occupy buildings (or parts of buildings that have been designed or altered to be used separately) where the total useful floor area of the building (or part that has been designed or altered to be used separately) exceeds 1000m2 and which is
frequently visited by the public.
The purpose of introducing Display Energy Certificates (DECs) is to raise public awareness of energy use and to inform visitors to public buildings about the energy use of a building.
DECs provide an energy rating of the building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least efficient and are based on the actual amount of metered energy used by the building over a period of 12 months. An affected organisation must display a DEC in a prominent place clearly visible to the public and have in its possession or control a valid advisory report. The advisory report contains recommendations for improving the energy performance of the building.
The introduction of DECs will for the first time give publicly accessible information on the energy performance of public buildings. It is important not only that the public sector complies but that it is seen to be setting an example. Environmental performance is increasingly important to reputation. Accordingly if there is any doubt over whether a DEC is required, it would be good practice to produce a DEC in any event.
A DEC and advisory report are required for buildings with a total useful floor area over 1,000m2 that are occupied in whole or part by public authorities and by institutions providing public services to a large number of persons and therefore frequently visited by those persons.
1. A building (or part of a building which is designed or altered to be used separately) with a total useful floor area of over 1000m2.
2. This building must be occupied by either:
a) A Public authority. A public authority includes central or local government departments
and some non-
b) An institution providing a public service to a large number of persons. An institution
providing a public service is one that provides services that are traditionally provided
by local or national government, or are traditionally funded by the taxpayer. In
determining whether an institution is providing a public service the following should
be considered, whether:
– the institution is autonomous or not
– the service is one that has been provided by local or central government in the past
– local or central government has a duty to provide the service
– local or central government plan, or fund, the provision of the service.
If the institution is entirely autonomous, the service has never been provided by government, local or central government do not have a duty to provide the service and local or central government do not plan or fund the provision of the service, then the services are not likely to constitute public services. Where some, but not all of these factors apply, a case by case approach is necessary and legal advice may be needed. If the management of a public service is contracted out, the duty is still likely to apply.
3. The buildings must also be frequently visited. Many buildings occupied by public authorities and institutions exist in order to supply services to the public in one form or another and can therefore expect to be frequently visited by the relevant part of the public. If the building is provided for members of the public to visit in order to receive a public service or in conjunction with such services, then a DEC should be provided.
Some buildings occupied by public authorities and institutions provide public services but not in a form which requires frequent visits by members of the public, or indeed for which such visits would be desirable. Since a DEC is designed for public use, there is no reason to provide one if it will never or only exceptionally be seen by a member of the public. These are likely only to be visited by:
– or non-
The aim of the directive is for the public to receive energy information about a building they are visiting. The Department would seek to encourage the provision of this information, wherever possible, even if it is not legally required. The public sector should set an example and if there is any doubt over whether a DEC is required, it would be good practice to produce a DEC in any event.
From 1st October 2008 if you are an occupier of a building requiring a DEC, you will need to display a DEC showing an Operational Rating in a prominent place clearly visible to the public.
From 1st October 2008 you will also need to have in your possession or control a valid advisory report.
DECs must be renewed every 12 months.
What is a Display Energy Certificate?
A Display Energy Certificate shows the energy performance of a building based on actual energy consumption as recorded annually over periods up to the last three years (the Operational Rating). The DEC also shows an Asset Rating for this building if this is available (by way of an EPC).
A DEC is valid for one year and must be updated annually.
The Operational Rating (OR) is a numerical indicator of the actual annual carbon dioxide emissions from the building. The various types of energy consumption from occupying a building must be brought together on a common basis so that the performance of one building can be compared with that of another.
This rating is shown on a scale from A to G, where A is the lowest CO2 emissions (best) and G is the highest CO2 emissions (worst). Also shown are the Operational Ratings for the previous two years; this provides information on whether the energy performance of the building is improving or not.
The OR must be calculated according to the methodology approved by the Secretary of State (SoS). This is done by an accredited energy assessor using a software tool for the calculation which has been approved by the SoS.
What do I do with a DEC?
The DEC should be displayed in a prominent place that is clearly visible to members of the public. To enable members of the public to view the document easily, it should be no smaller than A3 in size.
A DEC must be accompanied by an advisory report and the owner of the building must have a valid one available. The advisory report highlights recommendations to improve the energy performance of the building (i.e. its fabric and associated services such as heating, ventilation and lighting). An advisory report is valid for seven years.
Who is responsible for obtaining a DEC?
It is the responsibility of every occupier of a building affected by these Regulations to:
• Display a valid DEC in a prominent place clearly visible to the public at all times; and
• Have in their possession or control a valid advisory report which conveys recommendations to improve the building’s energy performance.
This must be done for each of the buildings affected.
Producing Display Energy Certificates
An energy assessor, accredited to produce display energy certificates for that type of building, is the only person who can produce a DEC and advisory report for your building.
Collecting the information required for a Display Energy Certificate
The occupier, in collaboration with the energy assessor, will need to obtain actual meter readings or consignment notes for all fuels used in the buildings that are affected by this legislation. This may include gas fuels, oil fuels, solid fuels, district heating and cooling, grid electricity and electricity generated on site or obtained by private distribution systems from other sites.
A team of people can work on gathering the information for an energy assessment as long as they are working under the direction of an Accredited Energy Assessor. The Accredited Energy Assessor must ensure that anyone visiting a property or gathering information on their behalf is both ‘fit and proper’ and suitably qualified to gather the information. Only Accredited Energy Assessors can produce and lodge a DEC.
An Accredited Energy Assessor may use data previously collected about a building. They must, however, be satisfied that any data about a building has been properly collected and accurately reflects the building as they will be responsible for any data used to produce a DEC.
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