Introduction: Energy Performance of Building Directive & UK Regulations
Originally brought in by the EU and adapted further by the UK Government at the time, the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) is designed to reduce greenhouse gasses (most predominantly carbon dioxide (CO2)). F-Gasses such as those found within air-conditioning systems fall outside the scope of the EPBD, however you can find more about businesses fluorinated greenhouse gasses obligations here.
Note: Scotland have different regulatory requirements; luckily we have highlighted at the end of this article what those key differences are. If your business is located in Northern Ireland or Scotland then feel free to check those differences out after reading this article to ensure that you are fully compliant with the EPBD in your region. If you are still unclear of your obligations you can use our Compliance Checker service.
The current gov.uk regulations based on the EPBD can be found on the Government website, future amendments will also be found on the Government website. In this article, we’ll take you through a summary of the 3 main obligations as they stand in their current form;
Energy Performance Certificates
The first requirement is that Energy Performance Certificates must be acquired and produced whenever a property is sold, rented or constructed if newly built. This applies for both residential and commercial properties. In addition, commercial buildings larger than 500m2 must also display the certificate. Sometimes referred to as Commercial EPC’s, the aim of the requirement is to encourage businesses to look at how their building is currently using energy and steps that can be taken to reduce energy usage.
Display Energy Certificates
Secondly, all public buildings with a floor area greater than 250m2 must acquire and display an energy certificate. Referred to as a Display Energy Certificate (DEC). Whilst not applicable to the vast majority of businesses there are a few cases where this requirement needs to be met. One such case would be when a company is offsetting energy efficiency improvement requirements as part of an ESOS obligation. Much like the Commercial EPC, the aim is to identify the energy efficiency of the public building using the now familiar scale (below) and suggest methods to improve. Unlike the commercial and domestic EPC’s the DEC expires after a period of 1 year. Unless the floor space is less than than 1000m2 in which case the Display Energy Certificate is valid for 10 years. If the DEC has expired then the building is not compliant and you must arrange to have a new DEC.
The final main requirement stated in the EPBD is that all buildings with an air-conditioning system of 12kW or greater must have the system inspected every 5 years. This is commonly referred to as a TM44 Air-Conditioning Inspection (or TM44 for short), which is the name of the guide from CIBSE that prescribes the methodology that should be used when inspecting an air-conditioning system in England & Wales. The air-conditioning inspection was designed to be as non-intrusive to businesses as possible whilst providing valuable data on the air-conditioning system efficiency, best practices and to highlight any areas of concern.
Exceptions in Northern Ireland and Scotland
For TM44 Energy Assessmsents in Scotland, the total rated output of the air conditioning systems are calculated differently. All components of the system must be centrally linked to form a combined total rated output of more that 12kW before the TM44 inspection condition is met. However, if the system has 1 or more unit with an individual rated output of 12kW, it doesn’t need to be linked centrally in order to meet the condition.
The regulations for Display Energy Certificates in Scotland do not apply. Instead, Scottish businesses and organisations which occupy buildings over 1000m2 need a Commercial EPC and section 63 report.
Summary & Further Reading on Building Compliance
We’ve highlighted the benefits for businesses to comply with the EPBD previously and would recommend you to take a look. Regardless, the directive is has been written in law in its current form since 2013 and failure to comply could result in fines.