Display Energy Certificates questions and answers

Further information on Display Energy Certificates is available in this list of questions.

What is the policy behind the requirement to display a DEC?

The introduction of DECs will raise public awareness of energy efficiency in public buildings. DECs provide an energy rating of the building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least efficient and they are based on the actual amount of metered energy used by the building over a period of 12 months. They also show ratings for the previous 2 years for comparison. 

What criteria are used to determine if a DEC is required?

A DEC must be provided for a building (or part of a building which is designed or altered to be used separately) with a total useful floor area of over 500m2 (total useful floor area is defined as the total area of all enclosed spaces measured to the internal face of the external walls, including areas such as staircases and galleries) which is occupied by a public authority. (A public authority includes central or local government departments and some non-departmental public bodies).

The building must also be frequently visited by members of the public to receive a public service. Since a DEC is designed for public information there is no reason to provide one if it will never or only exceptionally be seen by a member of the public (for example, the building is only visited by employees or by invitation). 

What organisations are included in this definition of public authorities and institutions?

Public authorities and institutions would include, for example:

  • NHS Trusts
  • healthcare centres (but not private care/nursing homes)
  • hospitals (but not private hospitals unless NHS patients are admitted as well)
  • leisure centres (but not private health clubs)
  • schools and higher education authorities, including universities (but not private schools)
  • large central post offices
  • police stations, prisons and courts
  • public libraries and
  • museums and art galleries sponsored by public authorities

The aim of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is for the public to receive energy information about a building they are visiting. 

Who is responsible for ensuring that a DEC is displayed?

It is the responsibility of every occupier of a building affected by the EPC Regulations to display a DEC in a prominent place clearly visible to the public and to have in his/her possession a valid advisory report. 

How long is a DEC/advisory report valid?

A DEC shows the energy performance of a building based on actual energy consumption for the previous 12 months and must therefore be renewed annually. An advisory report is valid for 7 years. 

How do I get a DEC?

An energy assessor, accredited to produce DECs, is the only person who can produce a DEC and Advisory Report for your building. To search for an accredited assessor visit the epc register

What does a DEC contain?

A DEC must contain the following information:

  • the operational rating (energy used) and the asset rating (as built - if available) as determined by a methodology approved by the department
  • the operational rating for the building expressed for the last two years
  • reference values such as a current legal standards or benchmarks

The DEC will also show the unique certificate reference number, the address of the building, the total useful floor area of the building, the name of the energy assessor, their employer (or trading name if self employed), the name of their accreditation scheme and the date when the DEC was issued.

The DEC must be accompanied by an Advisory Report containing cost-effective recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of the building. The report will include zero and low-cost operational and management improvements, possible upgrades to the building fabric or services, and opportunities for the installation of Low and Zero Carbon (LZC) technologies. It should enable the occupier to identify what may be done to improve energy management and reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. 

What information should be collected to produce a DEC?

Actual meter readings or consignment notes for all fuels used in applicable buildings (gas fuels, oil fuels, solid fuels, district heating and cooling, grid electricity and electricity generated on site or obtained by private distribution systems from other sites) are required.

For district heating and cooling and electricity generated on site, or obtained by private distribution systems from other sites, you will also need to obtain the average carbon factor for the service over the accounting period e.g. in kg of carbon dioxide per kWh delivered. 

What if the buildings are grouped on a site or campus?

For buildings that are on a site or campus, energy metering information can be collected at site level rather than building level. Although multiple small buildings on a campus where each building is less than 1,000 m2 are excluded, if these buildings are linked to one another by a heated space or are served by the same heating or cooling system then a DEC is required. The energy consumption for each separate building or each group of linked buildings with total useful floor area exceeding 1,000 m2, will then be derived by proportioning on the basis of floor area. 

I work for a public authority/institution in a building that requires a DEC. We have just moved in and we do not have energy consumption figures for the previous 12 months. Are we still required to display a DEC?

The operational rating is not required where an occupier has been in occupation for less than 15 months. The asset rating is not required in the display energy certificate where an occupier entered into occupation of the building before 31st December 2008.

Are there any penalties for non-display of a DEC?

Civil law applies and DFP officials and Building Control officers from the relevant District Council area will have the duty of enforcement.

These officers can act on complaints from the public or make random investigations themselves and if they believe that you are subject to any of the duties under the Regulations, they can request you produce the relevant documents. This information must be provided within 7 days of the request and the enforcement officers may take copies of any document you provide for inspection.

Failure to comply with the request of the enforcement officers, or the Regulations, may result in the issue of a penalty charge notice. Penalty charge notices can only be issued within 6 months of the date when the person concerned was subject to a duty in relation to the building.

The penalty for each breach is £500 for failing to display a DEC at all times in a prominent place clearly visible to the public and £1,000 for failing to have possession of a valid advisory report. In addition to these penalties, of course, it is still necessary to commission a DEC and an advisory report.

However:

  • if you can demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid breaching the Regulations, then the penalty charge notice may be withdrawn
  • if you believe the penalty charge notice should not have been given you can request a review. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the review you may appeal to the county court within 28 days after you received notice confirming the penalty charge notice
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