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EPBD - what is it and what does it mean for your business?

23 April 2021


Across the EU, buildings are responsible for generating 40% of all energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. Tackling this problem is a key step in reaching net zero targets. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was established to ensure a significant reduction in emissions from new and existing buildings.

While it’s easy to make improvements in new builds, the country has a large backlog of renovations needed to reach net zero compliance. In 2018, 75% of existing buildings were categorised as ‘energy inefficient’.

Staying compliant with EPBD legislation isn’t too complicated. There are three main types of certification and which ones you need depends on your property.

what does the EPBD cover?

Compliance in the UK hinges on three types of certification. Both private and public sector buildings need these.

DECs (Display Energy Certificates)

Similar to those found on appliances, a DEC shows the buildings energy performance and is based on the consumption recorded over the previous 12 months. The rating system is from A to G, with an A rating having the lowest emissions and G having the highest.

These are required by any building larger than 250m2 that is frequently visited by the public. Alongside the DEC an advisory report is also required. These are valid for 10 years for any building up to 1000m^2 and for 12 months for larger buildings.  Private organisations do not need to display a DEC but may voluntarily do so.

TM44 air-conditioning inspections

Any building with installed air-conditioning units must be inspected every 5 years. Your inspector will provide you with a certificate and a report on how efficient the equipment is. This document will list any issue and suggest any improvements you may be able to make.

EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates)

This certificate is needed when a property is built, sold or rented. It includes an efficiency rating from A to G and is valid for 10 years. Buildings that don’t achieve an E grade or higher cannot be sold or let.

EPBD and the NZEB

With the introduction of the EPBD came a commitment that all new properties be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs). While no exact numerical targets were established for this classification, the aim is to ensure that NZEBs use very low amounts of energy. The supply of power should also be mainly from renewable sources. In 2016 the government’s Zero Carbon Homes policy was scrapped. As a result, the EPBD became one of only a few laws targeting building efficiency.

Currently UK legislation focuses on emissions standards while the EU laws also include ‘primary energy’. This is based on how much raw fuel is used to generate the power for each building, including the amount lost in transmission. This further highlights the need for new properties to source green, renewable sources of energy to remain compliant with the potential changes in legislation. Guidelines are likely to be tightened as 2050 moves nearer and the net zero deadline approaches.

While decarbonising buildings is the main objective of the legislation, there are other benefits. It was also designed to create economic opportunities in the construction and renovation industry and takes steps to battle energy poverty.

The Brexit impact on EPBD?

In the aftermath of Brexit, there was some concern about the future of the agreement and whether the UK would continue to follow the regulations. At the very least, there was a requirement to transition the EU directive into domestic law. Following extensive consultation, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove released a statement outlining the UK’s continuing dedication. Not only to meet these standards but also to improve them.

How Smith Bellerby can help you

Improving the efficiency of your building may not require anything as serious as a renovation. Most properties can improve their ratings by installing quality insulation or onsite generation. The best first step is an assessment of the property and an audit of the various utilities. At Smith Bellerby, we have over 20 years experience in efficiency management and energy procurement. Our comprehensive, tailored services have helped our clients cut costs and reduce consumption by up to 20%. We can advise you on every aspect of your energy usage and help you plan your own sustainability strategy.

Your account manager will assist with procuring the services and commodities you need to manage the supply and usage, and ensure you are fully updated with all the relevant legislation. For more information on our services and how we can make things easier for your business, get in touch today.

Net zero

The path to net zero requires a combination of sustainable solutions working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Smith Bellerby can help guide clients through this complex process. You can find our net-zero guide here.

Andy Scrimshaw
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