A consultation on the energy ratings regulations published yesterday by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) included a proposal to scrap Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for around 54,000 buildings such as town halls, schools and swimming pools in England and Wales.
Members of the green building community have slammed the proposals – which would reverse a policy introduced in 2008 that requires all public buildings over 1,000 metres squared to have a DEC, detailing the energy performance of the building based on its actual annual energy consumption and the CO2 emissions that result from that energy use. As Business Green reminded us, in 2011 the government promised to extend DECs to commercial buildings, but then back-tracked on the plans, despite support from green business groups which argued it would help drive energy efficiency improvements.
John Alker, acting chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, refuted the plans: “Any suggestion of scrapping DECs for public buildings simply beggars belief…Government time and again trots out the mantra of not ‘gold-plating’ EU requirements to minimise administrative costs, but completely misses the potential benefits that going further offers. There are clear examples – including the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s own headquarters – where DECs have helped public bodies to reduce their energy use and slash bills by an amount that hugely outweighs the administrative costs. Rather than rowing back on DECs, government needs to ensure they are better enforced, with a view to extending them beyond public buildings.”