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Changes to Display Energy Certificates in England and Wales

This consultation from the Department for Communities and Local Government reviewed the role and methodology for Display Energy Certificates. Whilst the consultation document was presented as an exercise in streamlining processes and reducing burdens, it was proposing significant changes to the DEC regime which may have the effect of reducing the levels of information about the efficient operation of public buildings. The consultation closed on 11 March 2015

Objectives of the consultation

The aim of this consultation was to understand how the current Display Energy Certificates regime has been working and how it could be improved and simplified. The consultation covered ways to improve the issue and display of energy certificates in public buildings; reducing the burden of compliance to energy certificates, whilst encouraging public sector energy efficiency; and a call for evidence for anyone who wished to provide information on public buildings in their care.

This four week consultation closed on 11 March 2015, which leaves little time for the current administration to analyse the consultation responses, prepare its response and publish any changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations. However, given the uncertainty surrounding the result of the forthcoming election, the government may wish to act very quickly.

Supporting papers

To download the consultation document, please follow the links below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE members agree that there is a significant scope for improving the current regime, for it to be strengthened and to help ensure that it delivers greater benefits to participants. It would also benefit from a clear focus on identifying energy savings and driving change and improvement in a wider range of buildings, to help support and drive public sector leadership on energy efficiency. However, the proposals in the consultation would not represent an improvement. CIBSE has expressed a willingness to assist government in improving the DEC regime, over a number of years, and remains willing to engage with government to this end.

DECs are an important part of the UK’s energy efficiency policy arrangements, contributing to the improved energy use outlined in the consultation. There is no significant rationale for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to water down or abolish a scheme that until only recently Government was planning to expand, and which is a key component of recent energy efficiency policy. DECs have – despite being seriously neglected in terms of their enforcement and on-going development and support – been shown to have a positive effective on energy performance, as described in the consultation itself.

In the light of these benefits, which were the rationale for the initial introduction of DECs, and given the Government’s desire to cut public sector costs and increase accountability for expenditure, this consultation and its proposals are all the more surprising. DECs represent a transparent way in which the wasting of tax payer’s money, through profligate use of energy, can be monitored and addressed. Far from saving money for the public purse, these proposed “improvements” to the DECs regime can be expected to increase pressure on HMG finances. They are also likely to have significant adverse knock-on effects on our energy security and our ability to meet our legally binding climate change commitments.

In addition to the full response to the questions posed by DCLG, the Institution has provided a thorough review of the policy analysis section of the consultation document, which has been considered to have omitted key aspects of the rationale underpinning the original policy decisions to adopt DECs in England and Wales, and other key aspects. The Institution has also included in its response contributions received from a range of energy assessors and some estate operators.

The CIBSE research on benefits of the current DEC regime was also refered to in the Committee on Climate Change letter issued in response to the consultation.

To read the full CIBSE response and the CCC letter, please follow the links below.

This consultation gathered a lot of commentary in the media, read what Andrew Warren thought in his recent blog entry 'The strange tale of the Secretary of State, the DECs, and the quiet consultation'.