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EU Energy Performance of Building Directive

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

I am making a further statement today on how the Government intend to implement the remaining provisions of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in order to encourage the reduction of energy consumption and associated carbon emissions arising from the use of buildings.

Nearly 50 per cent. of the UK's emissions are generated through the way we heat, light and use our buildings. The Government's climate change agenda recognises that comparatively minor changes to the ways in which we construct and use buildings can have a large cumulative effect.

These measures aim to ensure that appropriate energy performance information is made available to enable people to make informed choices when buying or renting new or existing buildings.

Last September the Government announced that there would be an amendment to Part L of the building regulations to raise energy efficiency standards and at the same time implement Articles 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in England and Wales. These changes, which improve building energy efficiency standards by 40 per cent. over 2002, came into force on 6 April 2006 and are being supported by a comprehensive dissemination and training programme to help industry and building control bodies comply with them. This amendment sets out national methods for calculating energy performance, and tougher energy efficiency standards for building work. It is the Government's intention to adopt reduced data SAP (RDSAP) a simplified SAP methodology for the assessment of existing dwellings including the energy performance certificate for HIPs.

For the remaining provisions of the European Directive, we need to ensure that there are sufficient qualified and/or accredited surveyors and appropriate procedures in place. The Directive allows a three-year derogation to apply fully the requirements for energy certificates and plant inspections and we are working with stakeholders to ensure sufficient numbers of trained inspectors are in place to support a phased programme of implementation. We are rolling out this programme shortly with energy certificates in home information packs and making a separate statement about this today.

We will adopt a system of calculated asset ratings when energy performance certificates are required upon construction, sale or rent and to allow for the use of operational ratings, derived from measured energy consumption, for those obliged to provide certificates for public display. We are engaging with other Government Departments over the implementation and particular display requirements.

Public display will initially be for buildings over 1,000m2 occupied by public authorities and by institutions providing publicly funded services to large numbers of persons. This is important as the public sector should be seen to be taking the lead in respect of disseminating energy performance and actively seeking ways of reducing its energy consumption.

We are committed to widening the display requirement to all public and private sector buildings where it can be demonstrated this is cost-effective to do so. We shall be publicly consulting on this to take full account of stakeholders' views.

In September last year the Government signalled that we would develop a system of nationally recognised qualifications for those wishing to practice as building, boiler plant and air conditioning plant energy surveyors.

This process is under way and a national occupational standard has already been created that covers energy certification of dwellings at the point of marketed sale. There are over 4,000 home inspectors who are undergoing training to support the introduction of the home information pack that will become mandatory from June 2007. We are now working with the appropriate Sector Skills Councils and industry stakeholders to expand this across other sectors.

Preparatory work for the phased programme of implementation has been proceeding, involving key stakeholders from across both industry and consumer organisations and we will increasingly be working with these groups to finalise the details of the phasing programme and other aspects of the implementation. As this work matures, the Government plan to lay a Statutory Instrument in early 2007 to transpose the Directive into law.

Over time most business owners, home owners and tenants are likely to be affected by the Directive in some way and it is of considerable importance that they are fully aware of developments in this area. To this end, we shall also shortly be initiating a programme of communication aimed at the different sectors involved.

Ministers in Scotland and Northern Ireland are responsible for the implementation of the Directive in their regions.