Policy

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings and using planning to protect the environment

Supporting detail:

Energy performance of buildings

40% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions come from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively small changes in energy performance and the way we use each building will have a significant effect in reducing total energy consumption.

Energy Performance Certificates

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is responsible for making sure buildings in the UK meet the standards required by the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

The Directive requires that:

  • all properties (homes, commercial and public buildings) must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when sold, built or rented
  • larger public buildings over 500m² must display a Display Energy Certificate (DEC)
  • all air-conditioning systems over 12kW must be regularly inspected by an Energy Assessor

EPCs are produced by accredited energy assessors using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage. This means that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.

An EPC includes a recommendation report that lists cost-effective and other measures to improve the building’s energy rating.

DCLG has made it easier for consumers to save money on their fuel bills by:

  • developing an EPC Adviser tool to help people assess how much money they can save and carbon they can reduce by making their homes more energy efficient
  • requiring domestic energy assessors to increase their skills so that they can provide a more effective service
  • improving the training for domestic energy assessors to help them provide an effective service
  • opening up access to the EPC register of more than 7 million EPCs by providing online access to individual EPCs and making all EPC data held on the register publicly available

New-look EPC

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Display Energy Certificates (DECs)

Buildings must display a DEC if:

  • they have a total useful floor area of more than 500m²
  • they are occupied or part occupied by public authorities

Where a building is partly occupied by a public authority, the authority is responsible for displaying a DEC and having a valid advisory report.

Other private organisations occupying the building, irrespective of the size they occupy, do not need to display a DEC.

DECs for buildings:

  • larger than 1,000m² must be renewed every 12 months
  • between 500m² and 1,000m² must be renewed every 10 years

You can see other related publications about EPCs and DECs in the ‘latest’ tab.

Energy assessor accreditation schemes

DCLG is responsible for approving energy assessor accreditation schemes in England and Wales. Energy assessors must be suitably qualified and be a member of a DCLG-approved accreditation scheme relevant to the work they do.

The accreditation schemes cover:

  • EPCs for existing dwellings
  • EPCs for new dwellings
  • EPCs for non-dwellings (commercial buildings)
  • DECs
  • air conditioning inspection reports

The DCLG-approved accreditation schemes are listed below, showing the type of energy assessor accreditation they cover.

Schemes covering all types of energy assessor

Schemes covering all types except air conditioning inspection reports

Schemes covering all types except EPCs for existing dwellings

Schemes covering air conditioning inspection reports only

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