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CIBSE reveals energy assessors' conclusions

Most property professionals who require commercial energy performance certificates are most concerned about getting the cheapest standard certificate, say energy assessors in a CIBSE report.
Energy assessors polled in a CIBSE survey said more than 75% of their clients were only looking for the lowest possible cost for a certificate without other considerations.

A whopping 82% of energy assessors’ clients, when questioned, said they had only commissioned a standard certificate.

As of January 4, nearly all aspects of the European energy performance of buildings directive (EPBD) became a legal requirement, including a requirement to produce an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) on the sale or rental of any building, a Display Energy certificate (DEC) showing energy used in all public buildings over 1,000 sq m, and regular examination of air conditioning systems over 250kW.

Results, collated from two CIBSE questionnaires ( Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) in which 171 energy assessors and 200 property professionals responded, revealed more needed to be done to ensure energy assessors’ recommendations are implemented to achieve carbon savings.

CIBSE says its report shows a small but growing number are asking for full surveys with the intention of implementing some if not all of the energy assessors’ recommendations.

John Field, a CIBSE low carbon energy assessor and director of Power Efficiency Ltd, said: “At this stage of Energy Performance Certification (EPC) roll-out, if more than 20% of property professionals have progressed EPC and DEC improvement measures I would say that is extremely positive: effectively spurring a large swathe of energy improvements'.

He said:“Granted one would hope for a higher percentage eventually, but the emphasis has understandably been on compliance and I believe there will be a gradual increase in focus on the rating and grade achieved and on ways to improve this. You have to measure before you can manage effectively.”

Jacqueline Balian, managing director of CIBSE Services said: “The most valuable element of an energy performance certificate is the recommendations report. CIBSE is therefore calling upon the government to make implementation of the highest impact recommendations a requirement for any building which receives an F or G grade.”

Client confusion about costs were also revealed in the CIBSE report. When asked what they initially expected the certificate to cost, client responses ranged from £50 to £10,000.

When asked: ‘what is the average cost for producing an EPC for a client’, the energy assessors surveyed revealed costs for small buildings (under 2500m2) ranged from £300 - £5,000. For medium buildings (2,500 – 10,000m2) it was £750 - £10,000, and for large buildings (over 10,000m2) it was £900 - £10,000.

A spokesman from the department for Communities and Local Government, told that it estimated 10-17,000 air conditioning systems with over 250kw cooling capacity needed to undergo a first inspection by January 4, 2009, but admitted it had no statistics on how many inspections had taken place.

The CIBSE polls also revealed that the gathering of accurate energy data is a major stumbling block for energy assessors and clients - 44% of clients surveyed said that collating the required information was the most difficult part of getting the certificate produced, and energy assessors said obtaining correct energy data was one of the biggest challenges when it came to producing both EPCs and DECs.

When asked what advice energy assessors would give to potential clients to make the process run as smoothly as possible, top of the list was for clients to start collecting all energy data, floor plans and building information as far in advance as possible and to clarify just what they would like to get out of the process.
8 January 2009


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