Changes to Display Energy Certificates

The Government is proposing a shake up to the current Display Energy Certificates to reduce the cost burden on the public sector with the likely outcome that schools, town halls and swimming pools will be exempt from the requirements to have a DEC. We have responded to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), who have produced the consultation document, expressing our negativity and concern to the proposals. The reality is that far greater financial savings can be achieved if DECs are acted upon to generate energy efficiency savings in these buildings compared to the relatively modest administrative savings of abolishing the DECs.

Our response is provided below.

To whom it may concern.

EVORA is a niche energy and sustainability consultancy working in the real estate field. We are involved in energy performance assessment of public and private sector occupied buildings. One of our core service offerings is to support clients with compliance requirements and this can involve obtaining DEC assessments (although we do not complete the assessments in house). I am the Operations Director of EVORA. My responses to consultation questions are provided below.

Question 1 – How could the existing enforcement regime be improved?

A clearer definition of ‘public authority’ and ‘frequently visited buildings’ are important and good steps (point 32). However, I think there is a risk, based on your planned definitions that schools will be excluded going forwards. I think it is vitally important that educational establishments are covered by DEC regulations. As a parent, I am regularly reminded of the energy inefficient operation of school buildings, on my infrequent (based on consultation paper definitions) school visits.

Questions 2 and 3 – How can enforcement be improved?

I do not think enforcement is effective and I am not aware of any enforcement action being taken. LWMAs may not be the most appropriate enforcement authority. However, I do not believe that passing this responsibility on to local authorities is the answer (point 43). In my opinion, this will create a ‘self-policing’ conflict of interest and open the scheme to criticism – as LAs will be the primary occupiers of public buildings. Furthermore, I do not believe that passing enforcement responsibility on to neighbouring local authorities will work.

I understand why this is being considered, as local authorities have a significant interest in the proper application for Energy Performance of Buildings. However, it may be worth considering the Environment Agency as an option. The EA is already responsible for CRC and ESOS schemes and transferring responsibility for policing of DEC (and EPC schemes) will allow for more joined-up thinking. It will also enable enforcement funding to be ring –fenced and will improve access to enforcement data. I also suggest that publication of non-compliance is considered.

Question 4 – Should the existing system of Display Energy Certificates and recommendation reports remain unaltered?

I believe that the DEC scheme, whilst it has failings, is well recognised and can be further developed to form an essential element of the UK Government’s approach to tackling inefficient buildings and more generally, climate change. Scrapping, or even diluting the scheme, will be a major step backwards for UK energy policy.

Question 5 – Should the exemptions from the requirements of the Directive be applied to qualifying buildings for Display Energy Certificates?

I do not believe that exemptions should be introduced. The consultation document (point 57) assumes that 1% of buildings may be exempted, creating savings of £83,520k annually. However, I believe that correct application of the DEC scheme, across the buildings at risk of being exempted, will identify energy saving opportunities well in excess of this figure. The benefits of applying the scheme correctly, will exceed the exemption benefits.

Question 6 – Should those buildings that have and display their Energy Performance Certificate be exempt from the requirements to have a Display Energy Certificate?

No – Display Energy Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates display different information. This approach would lead to confusion.

Question 7 – Should an energy certificate be required when 500m2 is occupied by public authorities and frequently visited by the public?

A clearer definition of ‘public authority’ and ‘frequently visited buildings’ are important and good steps (point 32). However, I believe that exclusion of schools will be a mistake. As referenced above, I think it is vitally important that educational establishments are covered by DEC regulations.

Question 8 & 9– Should the validity period of all Display Energy Certificates and their accompanying recommendation reports be five/10 years?

No – lengthening inspection cycles would lessen the effectiveness of the scheme.

Question 10 – Should the Display Energy Certificate regime be altered in the way outlined above?

Question 11 – Should the mandatory Display Energy Certificate regime be abolished?

The DEC scheme should continue as is, with focus on improved enforcement. Changes to simplify, or even abolishment, will be a major step backwards.

Question 12 – If Display Energy Certificates were no longer a statutory requirement, would you still obtain one (for example in order to monitor the energy efficiency of any non-dwelling)? Question 13 – Which proposal (or combination) is your preferred outcome?

I think DEC completion would fall significantly (and be exceeded by private sector voluntary take up) if it were no longer a statutory requirement. I therefore believe it is vital that the scheme is maintained and that enforcement practices are strengthened.

Kind Regards,

Paul Sutcliffe
Operations Director
EVORA

Heat Network Update 2015

The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 – an update

EVORA can now provide a further update on the above regulations. The National Measurement Office has issued a Scope and Guidance Document covering the regulations.

A heat supplier obligated under the regulations is defined as a person (or organisation) who supplies and charges for the supply of heating, cooling or hot water to a final customer, through either communal heating or a district heating network.

Whoever is supplying the end user with heat is classed as a heat supplier. This includes the supply of heat as part of a package – i.e. through a service contract. The contract does not need to explicitly mention the supply of heat. Shared offices and shopping centres are identified as examples within the guidance document.

Air Conditioned Areas

The regulations define the use of hot water, steam or chilled water. Therefore, air conditioned systems relying on local compressors or purely ducted air are not in scope. However, the provision of chilled water to multiple heat exchangers within a system, supplying more than one customer, is recognised by the regulations as being in scope.

Requirements

In summary, the guidance confirms that multi-let properties are in scope. As such, heat suppliers must notify the National Measurement Office of the existence of heat networks (i.e. multi-let offices and shopping centres where heating and/or chilled water is provided to more than one tenant in a building). Notification must be completed by 30 April 2015.

EVORA can provide templates that need to be completed. The completed template should then be emailed to heatnotifications@nmo.gov.uk.

Consideration must then be given to installation of heat and hot water meters (or heat cost allocators) to final customers. Cost benefit analysis and subsequent installation must be completed by 31 December 2016.

Please do not hesitate to contact EVORA for more information.

EVORA is a niche sustainability consultancy specialising in commercial real estate. For further information on environmental regulation or any other sustainability issue please contact

Paul Sutcliffe

psutcliffe@evoraglobal.com

07557529104

Chris Bennett

cbennett@evoraglobal.com
07810631599

Environmental Legal Updates

Please find an update on environmental legal updates on F Gas rules and The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014, which may impact on the operation of your buildings.

Changes to F Gas rules

Introduced in the UK on 1st January 2015, EU Regulation 517/2014 has replaced previous regulations dealing with maintenance and inspection of fluorinated gases (F-gases). Previously, inspection requirements were based on the charge, in Kilogrammes, of the refrigerant in the system. As a result of the new legislation, requirements are now based on the global warming potential (GWP) measured as the Carbon Dioxide weight equivalent of the F-Gas.

Table 1 below outlines the new maintenance frequency requirements

System ChargeLeak Test Frequency
<5 tonnes CO2 EquivalentLeak tests not required
5 to <50 tonnes CO2 equivalentAnnually (Once every two years if leak detection system fitted)
50 to < 500 tonnes CO2 equivalent6-Monthly (Once a year if leak detection system fitted)
>500 tonnes CO2 equivalentQuarterly (Twice a year if leak detection system is fitted)

As a result, two different systems containing the same amount of F-Gas may now require different maintenance frequencies.

The new regulations also introduce a requirement to fit a leak detection system if your equipment contains F gas equivalent to more than 500 tonnes of CO2.

Why have the changes been implemented?

F-Gases have a high GWP, if they are released to the atmosphere they can cause significant emissions. Introducing a system which takes the type of F-Gas into account provides a risk-based approach to maintenance. Systems with F-Gases which can cause higher emissions are therefore inline to be tested more frequently. This will reduce the potential likelihood of a release occurring.

What do you need to do?

Checks need to be made on the type and amount of F-Gas held in your air conditioning systems to determine if the regulations impact upon maintenance regimes. Once the type and amount of F-Gas is confirmed it needs to be converted into CO2 equivalent tonnes.

Annexes within the regulations provide conversion factors to calculate GWP using the type and weight of refrigerant in the system.

Please don’t hesitate to call EVORA if you have any questions.

The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014

The above regulations came into force in December 2014 and introduced notification, metering and billing requirements for operators of District Heat Networks and Communal Heating.

Multi-let buildings where heating and cooling is provided to tenants may be classed as communal heat networks. Steps will need to be taken to meet regulation requirements, if this is the case, andif the landlord is deemed to be a heating supplier (a person who supplies and charges for the supply of heating, cooling or hot water to a final customer).

EVORA has written to the National Measurement Office (the Government Department responsible for the legislation) to seek clarification on interpretation of the requirements in relation to operation of multi-let properties. We will provide an update when received, however, in the meantime, we recommend that Landlords take steps to prepare for the legislation. It is expected that landlords will need to consider heating supply set-ups in multi let buildings on a case-by-case basis to consider whether the legislation is applicable.

Key requirements and associated deadlines are set out below.

Step 1: Notification

Heat Suppliers must notify the national measurement office of the existence of heat networks by 30 April 2015. This is a data collection and information provision exercise. Information to be provided includes location and size of the network and the number of customers supplied. Notification should be updated every four years.

Step 2: Analysis and, where feasible, Installation

Consideration must then be given to the installation of heat and hot water meters, to final customers (TRV radiator controls and heat cost allocators must also be considered). Cost benefit analysis and subsequent installation (where feasible) must then be completed by 31 December 2016. Feasibility analysis should be reviewed every four years.

There are also requirements to ensure that adequate metering is installed on new builds going forwards.