National Energy Foundation declares support for annual DECs

National Energy Foundation, EPC, DEC
The effectiveness of annual Display Energy Certificates — Ian Byrne.

The National Energy Foundation has expressed wholehearted support for Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for buildings and scepticism of the value of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). NEF’s view are expressed in a response to a consultation by the Department for Communities & Local Government into the regime for DECs.

Among key points made by Ian Byrne, deputy chief executive, is that the requirement for annual DECs provides a visible incentive to make continuous improvements to energy management and, hence, consistent and meaningful energy savings that are likely to far exceed the costs of compliance.

That view was in response to DCLG questions asking if the validity of DECs and their accompany recommendation reports be five or, even, 10 years. The consultation also asks if buildings that have EPCs should be exempt from being required to have a DEC.

NEF is critical of the DCLG suggestion that the higher the EPC rating, the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. Ian Byrne refers to independent research by the Better Buildings Partnership showing that the correlation between the two is at best quite weak. He adds, ‘As a result, DECs — which are based on actual energy consumption — provide a better reporting measure than EPCs, (which focus on the physical asset and not the way energy is managed within the property) when targeting improvements in energy performance.’

He also expressed the view that showing the date on DECs shows achievements in making energy savings, normalised to take account of weather conditions. That information is likely to lead to energy savings of considerably greater value than the quite modest costs of delivering DECs annually.

NEF did agree that recommendation reports could be less frequent than DECs — even at 10-year intervals for the fairly low basic reports that often add relatively little value.

The NEF response conclude, ‘We believe that annual savings as a result of the regular annual focus on energy performance should encourage good energy management, which, in turn, will go considerably towards the costs of the current regime.’

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