Learn About From Display Energy Certificates

As the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department of Communities and Local Government embark jointly on a major consultation on the effectiveness of Display Energy Certificates, we ask; “How well is the system working?”
DECs are currently mandatory for buildings over 1000m2 that are occupied by public bodies and institutions that are regularly visited by the public; this includes schools, universities, law courts, libraries and public sports facilities. DECs are also required by any organisation that has taken over the running of such a facility on behalf of a public body, such as sports trusts and residential care homes.
Display Energy Certificates (DECs) are now in their third year of operation so now is a good time for the Government to review their effectiveness: This year’s results will start to show a clearer picture of energy consumption and the effect on it of actions that have been taken over the past few years.
One of the reasons for this consultation is, of course, the launch of the ‘Green Deal’, but with the likely requirement to obtain a DEC for smaller properties as well as its introduction to the commercial sector by the end of 2012, it’s a good thing to make sure the current system, process and quality is working well before these things happen.
What are we learning from Display Energy Certificates?
DECs are different to other forms of Energy Certification, such as Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), as they focus on the actual energy consumed by the occupier, rather than the efficiency of the building fabric and building services. They are a measure of how well the day to day energy use of the building is managed. A DEC gives an Operational Rating (OR) with scores from 0 (A) to over 150 (G); a score of 100 is defined as ‘typical’ for the building type.
Recent research by BSRIA (Building Services Research and Information Association) shows the average Operational Rating on a DEC is 113; just above the typical rating of 100 – the ‘normal’ consumption for a specific building type. Approximately 98 per cent of the buildings surveyed and assessed for DECs fall in the 0-200 range, which is good news.
However, some 3,000 buildings have a rating of 200, which has been the software default Operational Rating for buildings with insufficient energy data to enable an accurate score to be calculated. This suggests that there is insufficient energy data or systems in place to monitor energy consumption. This is worrying considering that energy efficiency and cost savings should be a high priority for all public buildings.
DECs are about the building operation; good information is the key to good management practices over which there currently exist a number of concerns:
�The lack of energy data due to poor or missing data captures methods or systems.
�The quality and consistency of DECs (and EPCs).
�The levels of compliance and the lack of effective enforcement.
�The poor take-up of the recommendations by energy consumers.
Display Energy Certificates are renewed energy year and therefore it is possible to monitor and compare the energy consumption of consequent years and observe improvements. Also, the recommendations included in the DEC are very useful as some of them are either cost free or inexpensive to adopt and so improvements are possible even in a span of few years.

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