The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is designed to tackle climate change by reducing the amount of carbon produced by our buildings. But is it working?
Under the terms of the Directive, there are some very clear and sensible legal requirements for both privately and publicly owned buildings aimed at achieving the objectives of the EPBD, but sadly the legislation is not welcome and is not being enforced.
Legislation is often unpopular and seen as an imposition, so the sad part is that many landlords, tenants and owner occupiers are missing the point: The real benefit of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is the energy saving advice that comes with it. The accompanying Recommendation Report shows what can be done, cost effectively, to improve the energy efficiency of the property, reduce its carbon footprint and save money. This Report enables the planning and implement of the energy saving measures, over time, as budget allows, in order to realise both the planet and pocket saving benefits.
There are many companies who specialise in providing Commercial EPCs and DECs, helping landlords, tenants and owner occupiers save money and reduce their carbon footprints. They can usually find low cost ways to lower the energy usage of a property and help get the work done in a phased programme to minimise disruption, maximise savings and fit company cash flow. Some can even help get access to grants and interest free loans that are available from Government; many businesses are simply not aware of these and shouldn’t miss the opportunity!
Don’t Pay the Price.
For residential property, Estate Agents face prosecution if they offer a property for sale or to let without an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) but for commercial property, it’s the owner or landlord who gets fined. In the current climate, with low market activity, many are risking getting caught by delaying the commissioning of a commercial EPC until they have agreed a sale or letting; this leaves potential buyers and tenants deprived of valuable information about a major part of the cost of occupation of a commercial property – the utilities bills.
A local MP asked The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) what guidance they had provided to Trading Standards Officers in local Councils responsible for implementing the legislation. He learned that they (DCLG) had advised Councils to police the EPBD with a “light touch”: This seems to have been to have been interpreted as ‘do nothing’. Now, some twelve months later, the DCLG has issued more strongly worded guidance; this includes information on how to issue penalty notices for non-compliance. The odds on getting caught are now much shorter – and the fines aren’t small!