Edge Letter on Display Energy Certificates

February 2105

Dear Sir/Madam

Government proposal on Display Energy Certificates (DECs)

In a week when the three main party leaders have jointly pledged to act on climate change and ‘accelerate the transition to a competitive, energy efficient low carbon economy’ it is astonishing and deeply concerning that the Department for Communities and Local Government has published proposals for weakening one of the main tools used to reduce carbon emissions from buildings.

Display Energy Certificates (DECs) are required for public buildings over 500m2 floor area as well as those frequently used by the public. They record the energy actually used over each year and have been highly effective in reducing wasteful energy usage in buildings by making the information on energy use visible. It is proposed to replace them with energy performance certificates (EPCs) that only show the theoretical potential of a building to be energy efficient. The gap between theory and reality has typically been shown to differ by a factor of 200% or more, and only rewarding potential performance gives no incentive for any subsequent improvement.

Only with real information can progress be made in reducing energy use in buildings and cutting their significant carbon footprint. Energy saving is most effective when the results are measured and building owners and then openly disclosed by operators.

We call upon government to rethink the proposal to fatally downgrade Display Energy Certificates. Instead we strongly request that they should be made to cover all buildings above the area threshold, as originally promised by the Prime Minister in the 2011 Carbon Plan. The Confederation of British Industry, the British Property Federation and many large property companies have already asked the government for this to be enacted. Surely now is the time to make DECs more effective and widespread, not less.

Yours sincerely

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