A new response has been issued by Elmhurst Energy, in regards to the Government’s vital ‘call for evidence’ for the performance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in buildings.
This was a great chance for landlords to have their say on the future of EPCs, and provide feedback on what they feel can be done by the Government to help those in the private rental sector (PRS).
At Elmhurst’s ‘Charting a Route Map for Energy Certificates’ conference last month, members discussed the document, which is available to view online. This conference was also held in recognition of Elmhurst’s 25th anniversary.
The following nine points cover the overall message that Elmhurst wishes to portray about the current situation of EPCs:
- Energy Certificates need to reflect the current state of the building itself. They should be re-issued whenever a change has been made that impacts upon the energy performance of a building.
- The planning and building regulations process can often require a prediction of a building’s energy performance before the start of construction. The quality of these predictions have to be on par with the EPC, which is why it is imperative that they are undertaken by an accredited energy assessor, who is involved with an approved scheme.
- All buildings that are visited by members of the public, including shops and offices, should require Display Energy Assessments. This includes buildings owned by government and local authorities.
- Occupier engagement is restricted because the EPC is an asset rating for which the occupancy profile is not understood. An occupancy assessment should be included with each EPC, in order to improve the energy consumption estimates and recommendations that can be particular to the current home occupier and their lifestyle. Independent advice should be provided from energy assessors.
- EPCs are now in place, in order to set a minimum standard for housing in the UK. It is important that this stays consistent over time. Elmhurst believes that an EPC rating should be based on a fixed standard, such as primary energy, rather than a variable such as cost or carbon.
- EPC data should be made open to stakeholders, but with reasonable controls, so that they can use such information to demonstrate possible room for improvement. It could also improve enforcement authorities by linking to Land Registry and Trading Standard systems.
- Investment is required in the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RdSAP) and Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) methodologies, as it needs to be ensured that the results of real world testing is fed back, in a closed loop model, to constantly improve on accuracy.
- The approach to assessing Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) should be simplified, as most can be assessed using RdSAP as a single dwelling.
- No building should be exempt from requiring an EPC. Legislation related to the Private Rental Sector (PRS) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) can then be amended to allow exemption based upon the restrictions placed by planning and conservation restrictions.
Martyn Reed, Managing Director at Elmhurst Energy, has commented: “We hope the message is clear that Government need to build upon the excellent work of EPCs and energy assessors, and move into areas such as encouraging more action.”
“We trust that the feedback they receive is quickly analysed and new initiatives come through to ensure that buildings are warmer, cheaper to run and cleaner for the environment.”