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Changes in Legislation for DECs

Subject to regulatory and Parliamentary approval, from 9 January 2013, it will be a requirement that a Display Energy Certificate is displayed in a prominent place in buildings with a total useful floor area of between 500m2 – 999m that are occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public. The DEC for these buildings will be valid for 10 years. A 10 year validity period is the maximum permitted by EPBD2. It is Government policy when implementing new Directives not to go further than the minimum requirements.

At present, OR software, including ORCalc, which is used to produce the Display Energy Certificate and associated Advisory Report automatically produces a DEC ‘validity’ date of one year.

ORCalc will be amended in due course to address this issue. In the meantime, all DECs and Advisory Reports produced using existing Government-approved software are valid for the purpose of producing DECs for buildings of less than 1,000m2 and the associated Advisory Report. A one year and seven year ‘validity’ date on the DEC and Advisory Report respectively will not invalidate the documents.

Following the introduction of the new requirements, public authorities will be allowed a reasonable transitional period with which to comply, in line with the approach adopted when the requirement for DECs was first introduced on 1 October 2008.

Renewable Heat Incentive launched for Commercial Property

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) launched on 28th November 2011 for commercial (non-domestic) property.

Who can apply?

An owner of an installation which generates heat providing:

  • the applicant is the owner of the installation
  • the installation is of an eligible technology type and size
    (see table)
  • installation of the plant was completed and first commissioned on or
    after 15 July 2009
  • the heat must be used for space, water or process heating
  • the heat must be used in a building
  • the installation has not received, and will not receive, a grant from
    public funds
  • the plant must be new at the time of installation
  • the heating system must use a liquid or steam to deliver heat
  • for installations of 45kWth and below, the equipment and installer
    must be certified under the MicroGeneration Certification Scheme
    (MCS) (or equivalent)

Eligible technologies and support levels

Apply at:


As suggested in previous blogs the DCLG have proposed changed to make Commercial EPCs more visible and make compliance more enforceable. The latest proposed date for these changes to come into effect is 6th April 2012.


1. Summary of the changes to the EPB Regulations

The changes to the EPB Regulations can be summarised as follows:

the changes will extend the current requirements to commission an EPC that apply to residential buildings to all buildings sold or rented out;

the requirements for the provision of an EPC with written particulars are extended to all buildings sold or rented out and the option to attach the asset rating is removed; and

the regime for lodgement of EPCs and DECs on the Register is extended to air conditioning inspection reports.

The following summary details the main changes made in relation to EPCs.

2. Commissioning an EPC before marketing

A number of changes are made to regulation 5A of the EPB Regulations. In general, the onus remains on the ‘relevant person’ (i.e. the seller or landlord) to commission an EPC before marketing. The main changes are as follows:

the duty to commission an EPC before marketing is extended to the sale and rent of residential and non-residential buildings;

the current 28 day period within which an EPC is to be secured using ‘reasonable efforts’ is reduced to 7 days;

if after that 7 day period the EPC has not been secured the relevant person has a further 21 days to do so.

3. Power to Require the Production of Documents

TSOs currently have the power to require the ’relevant person’ (i.e. the seller or landlord) to produce copies of the EPC for inspection and to take copies if necessary. The power to require the production of documents will be extended to include persons acting on behalf of the seller or landlord – e.g. estate agents and letting agents. This means, for example, that TSOs will be authorised to require estate agents to produce evidence showing that an EPC has been commissioned where they are marketing a building without one.

4 Clarifying when an EPC is required

This technical amendment to Regulation 5 is intended to remove the erroneous belief that the provision of the EPC can be delayed until shortly before the parties enter into a contract for sale or rent. This will be achieved by deleting the words “before entering into a contract to sell or rent the building or, if sooner” in Regulation 5(2)(b) of the EPB Regulations.

5. Consequential changes

A number of consequential changes have been made to enable TSOs to enforce the new duties.

6. EPC Information in Written Particulars

Currently, for residential sales only, the relevant person or his agent is under a duty to either attach the EPC to written particulars or include the asset rating on those particulars. The amendments to the EPB Regulations require the EPC to be attached to written particulars in relation to buildings sold or rented out. The option to include the asset rating will no longer apply.

The existing definition of ‘written particulars’ has been expanded to ensure that particulars produced for rented out buildings and commercial properties are captured by the new requirements.

Sustainable Design-led Innovation (SDI) & Business Support Programme for SMEs in the East of England

Notes from Green Business Network, February 2011. Presenter Alex Rowbotham, Research Fellow in Sustainable Innovation, Centre for Competitive Creative Design at Cranfield University.


 Key stages of sustainable design:

  • Understand impacts – from a life-cycle perspective
  • Understand markets and company
  • Develop concepts
  • Employ design strategies
  • Design product
  • Bring to market

 SDI also addresses end-of-life issues such as recycling, re-manufacture, re-use, energy recovery and new concepts on how to use.

 Business Support Programme

 £20m Low Carbon Innovation Fund from ERDF/private co-investment specifically for SMEs in the East of England and €35m p.a. Eco-Innovation Funding available.

 Cranfield University are working with the East of England Development Agency, Business Link. Manufacturing Advisory Service, Cambridge University and UEA on the SDI programme. The goals are to embed sustainable innovation, support early stage innovation and promote knowledge transfer.

 Cranfield University have a range of tools and knowledge to work with SMEs to support the practice of sustainable innovation and develop greener products and services.

 Interested then contact Alex Rowbotham on 01234 750111 ext 2143.

Further information on the Low Carbon Innovation Fund can be found on or get advice from Business Link on 08457 171615.

Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) launch Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Government statement on the RHI scheme designed to encourage the take-up of low-carbon heating systems:

  • This is a new market for the UK. The RHI tariff scheme, which we [DECC] will shortly be asking Parliament to approve, will stand alongside the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme to send a strong signal of support to the renewables sector.
  • By 2020 we [DECC] estimate that the renewable heat sector will have grown to include around:
    • 13,000 installations in industry;
    • 110,000 installations in the commercial and public sector, supplying 25% of the heat demand in these sectors;
    • This is seven times the number of anticipated installations in 2014.
  • Anything from a pub to a public library, a school to a power plant will be eligible under the RHI to install technologies like biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal. Community projects will also be eligible, provided a single installation is providing heat to more than one house.
  • The tariffs will be paid for 20 years to eligible technologies that have installed since 15th July 2009 with payments being made for each kWh of renewable heat which is produced.
  • Once in the scheme the level of support an installation will receive is fixed and adjusted annually with inflation. However, as with feed in tariffs, we [DECC] expect the levels of support available for new entrants to the RHI scheme will decrease over time as the costs of the equipment and installation reduce through economies of scale.

To read more please refer to the following articles:

Stroma:, Guardian:


The “Green Deal” and EPCs

The Energy Bill introduced to Parliament on 8 December 2010 includes provision for a new “Green Deal” which the Government believes will revolutionise the energy efficiency of British properties. The Government is establishing a framework to enable private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, and recoup payments through a charge in instalments on the energy bill. It is anticipated that the Green Deal will be launched in Autumn 2012. To qualify for the Green Deal, expected savings in typical properties consuming a normal amount of energy must be equal to or greater than the cost of the measure.

Interestingly the measures installed must have been recommended for that property by an accredited, objective adviser who has carried out an assessment. The Government is reviewing options for carrying out the assessment of commercial buildings, including the corresponding EPC.

 For commercial property landlords the Government is proposing powers to require landlords to bring their property up to a defined threshold before it can be rented out again, subject to there being no up-front financial cost to landlords (using Green Deal finance or equivalent).

UK BR Part L2 Compliance: Points of note for Commercial Energy Assessors and building designers

This covers the effects of changes to Part L2 of the UK Building Regulations on the 2010 National Calculation Method and the SBEM 2010 interface.

2010 National Calculation Method (NCM) and Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM)

 The NCM is used to determine the actual building’s Building Efficiency Rating (BER) and the Target Efficiency Rating (TER) based on a Notional Building. Key changes include:

  •  New NCM Modelling Guide (2010 Edition) supported by the Non-Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide.
  • Revisions to Part L2 come into force from 1st October 2010 requiring compliance to be assessed using SBEM v. 4for new build. EPCs to be assessed using v.4 from 17 April 2011.
  • Aggregate 25% CO2 emission improvement to BER required. Varies with building type and use:
    • Shallow plan (heated only)     22%
    • Shallow plan (air-con)             40%
    • Deep plan (air-con)                 26%
    • Warehouse                              34%
    • Hotel                                       16%
    • School                                     27%
    • Supermarket                            26%
    • Retail                                       21%
  • Reduced number of building uses and activities. Previous 29 uses reduced to 21 ‘use classes’ in line with planning classes.
  • Improved fabric and HVAC system efficiencies and revised opening areas, and new ‘glazing classes’ for Notional Building dependant on ‘use class’.
  • No change to 2006 limiting u-values but significant improvement to Notional Building:
    • Roof                                        0.18
    • Walls                                       0.26
    • Exposed and ground floors    0.22
    • Windows & roof lights           1.8
    • Vehicle access door                1.5 (no change)
    • Pedestrian & high use door     2.2 (no change)
    • Internal wall                            1.8
    • Internal floor/ceiling               1
  • Revised thermal mass parameters.
  • Revised values for non-repeating thermal bridges with option to input QA Accredited Construction details.
  • Revised auxiliary energy calculations
  • Revised heating fuel and heat generator seasonal efficiency procedure for the Notional Building. Heating fuel now the same as the actual building. Therefore no ‘golden bullet’ by using bio-fuel.
  • Now no improvement factor for renewable energy.
  • Heating and cooling demand now aligned with ISO 13790:2008.
  • Night cooling now included as an option.
  • Revised auxiliary energy calculation (e.g. pumps, fans) for Notional and Actual Buildings.
  • Air-permeability of the Notional Building reduced from 10 to 5m3/h/m2 at 50Pa.
  • Demand controlled mechanical ventilation options available.
  • Revised lighting energy procedure and calculation, now 55lm/cw for the notional building.
  • No allowance for occupancy sensors (PIR) for lighting.
  • LED lighting is now a default option for EPC production.
  • The 2010 TER = 2010 Notional Building BER (i.e. not as for the 2002 values being upgraded to 2006).
  • New BR Part L2A Criterion 3 for limiting solar gains. Applies to all buildings with or without air-conditioning.
  • Indoor swimming pool basins added and to achieve u-value no worse than 0.25W/m2.K as calculated according to BS EN ISO 13370.
  • As-designed new build compliance submission to BCB with list of design specifications required. As-built submission required including changes to the designed specification.

SBEM 2010 Interface changes

 In addition to addressing the above some specific SBEM interface changes have been introduced with v4: 

  • New ‘shell & core’ and ‘portable & modular’ assumptions and procedures. Subsequent fit out requires Part L compliance assessment and EPC submission.
  • Bi-valent heating systems are easier to input.
  • Zone parameter length required.
  • More variable speed pump options.
  • Transpired Solar Collectors included as a building feature.

UK BR Part L: What does the future hold?

The main driver for UK legislation remains the Climate Change Act to reduce total emissions by 80% by 2050.

Changes to BR Parts L & F contribute towards this in a three pronged attack by setting tougher standards, improving compliance and improving tools and procedures.

A Ministerial Statement on 16/12/2010 outlined the work required for the 2013 BRs. This included:

  • 2013 BR will represent the next step towards zero-carbon building.
  • Provisions will be considered for the existing stock.
  • Higher levels of compliance will be ensured, looking at enforcement and incentives.

The UK already has a zero-carbon goal for non-domestic buildings by 2019. This suggests a continued aggregate 20% reduction in 2013, 2016 and 2019 against the 2002 baseline.

Lynne Sullivan, RIBA wanted to see cost option appraisals developed, so fabric improvements could be compared to active systems. Lynne also wanted to see greater understanding of the implications for constructors and users, and for better accredited details.


The current 1,000m2 limit has been dropped from the ‘Recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’. Governments are required to introduce requirements to introduce requirements for renovation of the building as a whole. This may include the upgrading of individual elements as well as the whole. This must be enacted by 9 January 2013 for public buildings and by 9 July 2013 for private buildings.

Additionally, Governments must ensure buildings undergoing major renovation it meets minimum energy performance requirements, and that alternative heating systems are encouraged.

Energy Assessments

The ‘Recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive’ requires public buildings frequently visited by the public and over 500m2 to display energy performance certificates (currently Display Energy Certificates (DECs) in the UK) by 9 January 2013; and under 250m2 by 9 July 2013. These will also be mandatory for many larger private sector buildings.

Roger Hitchin, BRE at Ecobuild noted that Display Energy Certificates (DECs) in come other EU countries triggered improvement plans if energy consumption was high.

All advertisements in commercial media concerning a building, or part of it, offered for sale or lease must state the energy performance from the certificate by 9 January 2013. Robert Corbyn, LCEA at Ecobuild suggested that Agents rather than landlords may become responsible for EPC production from as early as 1 July 2011. Also reported that the Government were considering combining EPCs and DECs.



A survey by Elmhurst Energy in October 2010 found the compliance level to be 35%. In 2007 there were 440,000 sales and leases of non-domestic properties yet only 223,000 commercial EPCs were lodged from Feb 2010 to Feb 2011, suggesting compliance in the order of 50%.

Enforcement has been woeful. There have been 7000 enquiries to Trading Standards yet only 14 TSOs out of 200 carried out any inspections. In three years only 23 penalty notices have been issued. A poor return from the £7.2m provided specifically to support enforcement.

It is to be hoped that the need for EPC ratings to be stated in commercial adverts and the possibility of agents being responsible will have a positive impact on compliance.

The supply chain view

A survey by the Construction Products Association, reported by John Tebbit at Ecobuild, raised lack of enforcement as an issue for suppliers. Without enforcement suppliers had less certainty of a return on their investment developing higher performing elements, services and low carbon technologies. John reported further that there was a feeling that builders were ‘getting away with it’. The change with BR 2010 where ‘as designed’ and ‘as built’ Part L compliance assessments was seen as hugely positive.

However, John reported real concern about the Notional building. Specifically setting unrealistic targets for small buildings. This was a problem for designers and there is real concern about likely 2013 targets.

For the next 2013 revision John was looking for better co-ordination between industry, Part L contractors and the DCLG.

Air conditioning

Air conditioning inspections have been largely disregarded by occupiers. One estimate put the compliance level at 4% (Mike Dankiwell, Space Airconditioning PLC). Concern has been raised but I have not picked up any specific suggestions on what might happen.

Has the day of LED lighting arrived?

Notes for Ecobuild 2011, London

Jill Entwistle, a lighting designer, reported at Ecobuild that LED lighting had improved exponentially in quality over the last 2 years.

 Mike Simpson, Philips Lighting provided some hard facts:

  • 60W filament replaced with 12W LED
  • 50W tungsten halogen replaced with 10W LED
  • 26W compact fluorescent replaced with 17W LED (with 3 times the life expectancy)

 A number of lighting designers (Lee Prince, Dominic Meyrick, Richard Bolt) showed slides at Ecobuild demonstrating how, using LED, you can have a luxurious lighting design and save energy e.g. backlit LED sheers, LED strips instead of tungsten.

 Achieved examples included:

 Hotel: Average lm/cw of 55, with full load of 9.8W/m2. Actual levels ranged from 3-6W/m2 in daylight hours to 5-6W in non-daylight hours.

 Office refurbishment: mixed CFT and fluorescent to LED change reduced connected load by 44%. 33W/m2 reduced to 18.7W/m2.

 External lighting of cathedral: 28kW load reduced to 14.5kW with LED and reduced light spill.

 External lighting of Tower Bridge: LED lighting trialled using 4kW compared to the current 200kW flood lighting.

 However, there were also warnings that LED was not the answer to everything. Some warnings were raised, including:

  • Can suffer from glare
  • They do get hot. Quoted output is at lower temperatures than actual operating temperatures. 20% loss in lumens at 100C.
  • Life varies by load.
  • Life predictions are not proven.
  • Colour rendering not as predictable and can appear too blue.
  • Still expensive to buy.


  • External lighting will go LED.
  • LED needs to be used differently not just as replacement. Design is key.
  • Similar to tungsten halogen downlights but saving energy and maintenance so will replace.
  • Right light, right place, right time still needed.

 LED lighting has been added to the list of default lighting within the Simplified Building Energy Model for 2010 BRs. However, the default inferred energy efficiency is less than T5 or T8 fluorescent.