Energy Performance of Buildings Directive - EPBD

What is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive?


The EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive – EPBD was introduced in the UK from January 2006 with a three year implementation period ending January 2009. Its objective is to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions as part of the government’s strategy to achieve a sustainable environment and meet climate change targets agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. The EPBD introduced higher standards of energy conservation for new and refurbished buildings from April 2006 and will require energy performance certification for all buildings when sold or leased. In addition it will introduce regular inspections for larger air conditioning systems and advice on more efficient boiler operation for commercial property.

What are the requirements of the EPBD?


Residential property

The latest information at the time of writing is that from 1st August all homes with four or more bedrooms marketed for sale will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that will contain information on the property’s energy efficiency and estimated running costs. The certificate will give a property an energy efficiency rating similar to a white goods energy rating. It will also include advice on further cost effective improvements that can be made. The requirement for an EPC will be phased in for smaller properties as the numbers of accredited energy assessors allows. All properties will have a certificate when they are constructed, sold or let by 2009. See our EPC advice for landlords or Home Information Packs – HIPs

Commercial property

There are two types of energy certificate required for new and existing commercial buildings; Energy Performance Certificates that will be required on construction, sale or lease of all buildings by October 2008 and Display Energy Certificates (DEC) required for public buildings over 1000m2 from April 2008.

1. Energy Performance Certificates From April 2008 all newly constructed non-dwellings will require an Energy Performance Certificate and existing buildings with a floor area over 500m2 will require an EPC when sold or rented. The certificate will include an energy rating, as well as advice on how to make cost effective improvements to the building to make it more energy efficient. The ratings will be similar to those currently used for white goods, ranging from A to G, with A the best and G the worst. From October 2008 the requirement for an EPC will beextended to all non-dwellings sold or rented (not just those over 500m2). From January 2009 air conditioning systems (larger than 12kW) will be subject to inspection every five years.

2. Display Energy Performance Certificates Public buildings over 1000m2 occupied or part occupied by public authorities or by institutions providing public services and therefore frequently visited by the public, will require Display Energy Certificates (DECs). This form of certificate must be publicly displayed within the building and is different in form and content from an Energy Performance Certificate. Display certificates are produced using a different methodology and are based on actual energy usage over a three year period (if available). The building is given an operational rating which assesses how well it has been operated based on actual energy consumption information. Display Energy Certificates will come to come into effect from 6 April 2008 and must be renewed every year.

This is in addition to the requirement for an EPC when a public building is constructed, sold or rented out.

What type of buildings need an EPC or Display Energy Certificate?


Energy Performance Certificates will be required upon construction sale or lease for all non-dwellings from small high street retailers and offices to larger scale commercial premises such as airports, shopping centres, office blocks and warehouses.

Display Energy Certificates will be required for all public authority buildings and institutions providing a public service with a floor area over 1000m2 which would currently include council offices, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals and any other publicly owned buildings accessed by the public. The government is committed to extending this requirement to all large publicly owned buildings at
some time yet to be announced.
Exemptions to the requirement for an EPC are:

  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings in use for less than two years (e.g. site offices)
  • Low energy demand buildings such as agricultural buildings (e.g. barns)
  • Stand alone buildings less than 50m2 (e.g. sheds and summer houses, Kiosks)

When are EPCs/Display certificates required?


Display Energy Certificates are required annually for all public buildings over 1000m2 from April 2008. Energy Performance Certificates will be introduced for nondwellings upon construction, sale or lease from April 2008.

Newly constructed buildings

All newly constructed buildings will require an EPC. Off plan buildings do not require an EPC until the construction is complete, however the government are encouraging the production of a predictive EPC based on the building regulation compliance check at the design stage.

Commercial Sales and Lettings

An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for 10 years and must be made available to a prospective buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity before entering a contract for sale of lease but no later than the release of marketing material or the request for a visit to the property. For commercial lettings an EPC is only required for a newly leased property.

There is no need to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate for an existing tenancy. If a valid Energy Performance Certificate still exists when changing tenants no new certificate is required. This applies to both private and social sector landlords and tenants. Who is responsible for commissioning an EPC? Landlords and property managers are responsible for ensuring that an Energy Performance Certificate and/or Display Certificate is made available.
How long is an EPC/Display Certificate valid for?

Energy Performance Certificates are valid for 10 Years except for marketed sales of dwellings where a Home Information Pack is required and the EPC must be no older than 3 years at the time of pack assembly. Display Energy Certificates are valid for 10 years. The accompanying advisory report on cost effective improvements is valid for 7 years.
Are there any enforcements?

Building Control will enforce certification of newly constructed buildings Trading Standards will enforce certification of existing buildings. Penalty fines will apply if a valid certificate is not produced up to 6 months after the certificate was required or a valid Display Energy Certificate is not displayed.
When is the EPBD being implemented?

  • 6 April 2008 EPCs required for the sale or rent of buildings other than dwellings with a floor area over 500m2 EPCs required on construction for all non-dwellings.
  • Display certificates required for all public buildings >1,000m2.
  • 1 October 2008 EPCs required on the sale or rent of all remaining dwellings.
  • EPCs required on the sale or rent of all remaining buildings other than dwellings.
  • 4 January 2009 First inspection of all existing airconditioning systems over 250 kW must have occurred by this date.
  • 4 January 2011 First inspection of all remaining airconditioning systems over 12 kW must have occurred by this date.

Does the EPBD apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland?


The EPBD will be implemented in Scotland and Northern Ireland but the timetable will be different to that for England and Wales. In Scotland, the Scottish Building Standards Agency(SBSA) is charged with the implementation of the Directive. Buildings when constructed, sold or rented out, including homes, public sector buildings and business premises will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The requirement for EPCs is being phased in as follows:

  • Construction from May 2007
  • Point of sale during 2008
  • Rental by January 2009

Two EPC models have been approved for use in Scotland; one for dwellings, the second for all other building types. The certificates will provide an energy efficiency rating, which measures overall efficiency, and is similar to the scale currently used for domestic white goods. The certificate also includes an environmental impact rating, which indicates carbon dioxide emissions. Recommendations for cost-effective improvements will also be included. Copies of the models can be downloaded from the Scottish Building Standards Agency (SBSA) website. EPCs will remain valid for a period of ten years.
Who can produce Energy Performance Certificates in Scotland?

In Scotland, the SBSA has chosen to enter into protocols with relevant professional organisations for the provision of EPCs. RICS Scotland is currently in negotiations with the SBSA to finalise arrangements. Further information, including methodologies and training requirements, will soon be made available to members.

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