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Schools: Energy

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that Building Schools for the Future schools which are required to display a Display Energy Certificate do so; and if he will make a statement; (252587)

(2) how many schools in each region (a) are required to display and (b) display Display Energy Certificates; and what the energy consumption of each of those schools was in the latest period for which information is available;

(3) how many schools have incurred penalties for failure to (a) display a Display Energy Certificate and (b) obtain an associated advisory report; and how much has been imposed in such penalties;

(4) how many and what percentage of Building Schools for the Future programme schools were in each of the Display Energy Certificate energy efficiency bands A to G at the latest date for which information is available;

(5) what data his Department are gathering on the effect on carbon dioxide emissions of use of renewables technologies in Building Schools for the Future schools.

The requirements to display a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) for an existing school and an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for a new school are legal requirements, for which the enforcement responsibility rests with Local Trading Standards Offices. We do not keep records of whether schools have incurred penalties for non-compliance or of penalties. The Department's contribution is to help schools comply. To that end, we have issued guidance on the Teachernet website for all schools on the requirement for DECs in schools1. We have no plans for further action beyond this.

The regulatory impact assessment produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government gives an estimate of the number of educational buildings in England that require a Display Energy Certificate2 We do not know how many schools are displaying the certificates as required. The Department has published aggregated Benchmark National and Regional Statistics on Energy Consumption of Schools for 1999 to 20033.

New schools built under Building Schools for the Future are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate rather than a Display Energy Certificate. Existing schools which are refurbished will have DECs. Both DECs and EPCs are recorded on a national register available at:

To access the data the unique reference number of the certificate must be known. Schools can therefore access their data using their certificate number. Individual school energy data are kept confidential and Communities and Local Government only receive aggregated data from the register. There are no plans to publish individual school energy data although many local authorities and schools hold these data themselves. Communities and Local Government are developing a data handling strategy for the aggregate data which should be in place by April this year. From an existing extract of provisional data from 19 December 2008 we know that, at that date, 28 secondary schools and 64 primary schools had EPCs. The numbers of these schools in each of the efficiency bands is given in the following table. To put these figures into perspective the average non-domestic EPC rating is currently a ‘C’.

Percentage of primary schools

Percentage of secondary schools

Asset rating efficiency band

Asset ratings




























Over 150

We are asking Communities and Local Government for a similar data extract for Display Energy Certificates and will be able to supply the efficiency band percentage splits to the hon. Member in the next two weeks. We will be discussing how future reports of the percentage splits can be made public with CLG as part of the development of their strategy for DEC and EPC data.

The data extract we have from CLG also lists the main heating fuel for all the schools. Where Biomass is the main heating fuel it is therefore listed. The three schools which have achieved ‘A’ ratings all have used biomass as the main heating fuel. This shows the impact that the use of biomass can have on the carbon rating of a school. No other renewables are identifiable on the data provided.

The Department requires that newly constructed schools, including those within Building Schools for the Future, meet a carbon emissions reduction of 60 per cent. relative to the energy efficiency standards in 2002 building regulations. Additional funding has been provided for more than 200 schools in Building Schools for the Future and the academies programme to fund the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on school sites to enable this requirement to be met. We have developed a ‘carbon calculator’—a software tool—which allows users to compare the likely effectiveness of various energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, and to demonstrate how they would achieve the 60 per cent. reduction. We have received completed carbon calculators for 53 school projects which are currently in design4.

Partnerships for Schools monitors the compliance of the carbon ratings of school designs with government targets and in PFI schools ensures that the payment mechanism during the contract period (normally 25 years) reflects the DCSF policy on energy use. A low carbon rating may be due to energy efficient design or the employment of low and zero carbon fuels, including renewables.

1 Webpage on Display Energy Certificates and Monitoring School Energy Consumption

2 building/xls/324471.xls

3 Energy and Water Benchmarks for Maintained Schools in England 2002-03, from