On 9th January 2013, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 came into force and with it brought further obligations in relation to the Energy Performance Certificates, Display Energy Certificates and air conditioning.
The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 implement the requirements of the recast 2010 EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings aimed at reducing the level of carbon emissions from public buildings by 2018 and all new buildings by 2021.
The Government has provided various guidance notes (“Guidance”) on these changes which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-the-energy-efficiency-of-our-buildings
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Display of EPCs – Who is affected?
From 9 January 2013 certain commercial premises, where an EPC already exists, are now required to display the EPC in a prominent place to all visiting members of the public. Whether or not this obligation applies to a premises will depend upon whether the property:
• is a commercial building;
• has a useful floor area of more than 500m²; and
• is frequently visited by the public.
It respect of the third test the question of frequency is not entirely clear. Guidance suggests that in order to apply a building would have to be one where the public would have to be visiting on at least a daily or nearly daily basis on an implied or express licence to enter.
As mentioned above, this obligation only applies to those premises that already have an EPC. There is currently no need for an owner or occupier to obtain an EPC where, to date, there has been no need to have one, for example in the case of a prior sale or letting.
Display of EPCs – Whose responsibility?
The Regulations state that responsibility to display an EPC lies with the occupier and in the case of a single tenanted premises this would be the tenant. However, in respect of multi-occupied buildings it may not be so clear and could lead to both the landlord having to displaying an EPC in respect of the common parts whilst tenant occupiers remain responsible for displaying EPCs for those parts of the building they occupy.
The requirements for selling or letting
Whilst it is no longer a requirement to attach a copy of an EPC to written particulars, when marketing both commercial and residential properties all written material, including advertisements in the commercial media, must now include the EPC asset rating at the very least whilst the Guidance recommends showing the full graph from the front of the EPC if space permits.
Buildings and monuments officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit are now exempt. However, this is only in so far as “compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance”. It should be noted that assessing whether or not a building falls under this exemption may be difficult as no guidance is given in respect of the test of compliance “certain minimum energy performance requirements”. It may be that landlords and tenants will therefore choose to err on the side of caution and obtain an EPC rather than take the risk of finding themselves in breach of the statutory obligations.
Display Energy Certificates (DECs)
Since 2008 a building which is occupied by a public authority or institution providing public services to a large number of people, is frequently visited by the public and which has a gross floor area of over 1000m² has had to display a DEC which shows the operational rating of a property. This is different from the measurement shown by an EPC.
The new regulations make two fundamental changes to this rule:
1. on 9th January 2013 the size threshold was reduced from 1000m² to 500m² and will be reduced further to 250m² on 9th July 2015.
2. the requirement no longer applies to institutions providing public servies to large numbers of people that are not public authorities.
The DEC must renewed annually for all properties over 1000m² however smaller properties’ DECs will be valid for seven years.
A DEC must be accompanied by a valid recommendation report (previously known as an advisory report) which sets out recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of the building.
Any air conditioning equipment with a rated output of more than 12kW must be regularly inspected by an energy assessor at no more than 5 yearly intervals. It should be noted that this would include equipment that whilst individually may not qualify will do so if assessed with other equipment making a combined output of more than 12kW. Failing to have an inspection report will attract a fee of £300 with a further £200 payable if a copy of the inspection report is not produced within 7 days.