Energy Saving Proposals Look Set to Bite the Dust

29th June 2012

If you’re a business owner and think that you have enough Government legislation to adhere to and enough red tape to cut through, then you will be relieved to hear that mandatory Display Energy Certificates (DECs) are likely to be scrapped by Government.

So, just what are DECs? And will you be required to have one?

Like Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), DECs are to encourage more energy efficient buildings. DECs are designed to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings and are currently mandatory on all public buildings over 1,000 square metres; they show energy usage on an annual basis and enable comparison year on year.

The proposal was originally to be included within the Energy Act 2011, and was to cover all commercial properties in the UK. The Government introduced EPCs and DECs in response to the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and to meet carbon reduction targets.

The proposal was to initially extend DECs to smaller public buildings and into privately owned commercial buildings to which the public have access, such as supermarkets. Ultimately, the whole commercial sector would be included.

But it appears that the Government has indicated that they have no plans to implement the proposal, but will instead encourage voluntary take up.

The Government is said to be working with the commercial sector to encourage voluntary take up, but given that there have been poor levels of compliance with the mandatory requirement for commercial EPCs, the chances of a successful voluntary scheme for DECs seems highly unlikely, in my opinion.

Larger companies which regard being green as good for reputation, may actively seek out getting a DEC, but it is unlikely that most businesses will be so green minded and see it simply as another indirect tax.

Given that business owners have criticised the Government for imposing ‘unnecessary’ legislation during a recession when they are already under considerable pressure, it is probably the reason for DECs being shelved for now.

It will be interesting to see what happens to DECs – and EPCs for that matter. Whatever happens though, abandoning DECs right now does not show the Government in the greenest light.

Assessors, like myself, will be curious to see just how many businesses go for voluntary DECs. Only time will tell.

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