DECs – What You Need to Know About the New Rules

There have been rules in place in the UK about monitoring and reporting the energy performance of buildings since 2002, when the European Directive 2002/91/EC was adopted. The aim of this was to reduce overall carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency of public and privately-owned, non-residential buildings – such buildings account for around 20% of carbon emissions and energy consumption in the UK.

Domestic EPCs are needed for any home that is built, sold or rented, to aid buyers or tenants in choosing homes that are more efficient to run in terms of energy costs. Commercial EPCs are similarly required for the sale or rental of any non domestic building.

What are Display Energy Certificates?

A Display Energy Certificate (DEC) is special type of EPC in that it is required to be on display in non-residential building that is regularly visited by the public. It is intended to provide the information, at a glance, of how energy efficient the building is. The DEC must be at least A3 in size and be displayed in a prominent place, easily visible to members of the public who may be visiting that building. There must also be a valid advisory report that accompanies the certificate.

The DEC shows an energy rating from A to G. This energy rating is calculated and based on the previous 12 months’ energy usage as measured by the buildings energy meters. A building with an energy rating of ‘A’ is deemed to have been the most efficient, whilst a ‘G’ rated building is the least energy efficient, producing the most carbon.

Very large buildings (over 1000 m2) need to reapply for their DEC every year, whilst buildings with a floor area of between 250 m2 and 1000 m2 need only renew every 10 years.

Who needs a DEC: the new rules

Private organisations can choose to have a DEC, and many do, to demonstrate a commitment to supporting the push to move to a more sustainable use of energy.

Since 9th July 2015, any building with useful floor space of over 250 m² must have a DEC if it is frequently used by the public. Previously, the floor space was over 500 m², so many more buildings are now subject to the requirement to have a valid DEC.

Now, every occupier of such a building must display a valid DEC which is clearly visible at all times so that it can be easily seen by the public. They must also have a valid advisory report – the report contains recommendations on how to improve the building’s energy rating by making changes such as installing insulation or using more modern, energy efficient appliances.

Who can provide a DEC?

Anyone occupying a building for which a DEC and advisory report are now required needs to get one through an accredited energy assessment provider. Only energy assessors with the appropriate qualification are accredited to produce a DEC and advisory report.

Producing a DEC may involve a site visit (certainly on first application). Once the DEC has been produced, it is placed on a national register and the occupant is provided with the DEC to display prominently and the related report to keep safe and use to make improvements where necessary.

An accredited energy assessment company must have all the necessary quality assurances in place and is regularly monitored as part of ensuring continued quaility of service.