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Brussels hints at DEC retreatFebruary 2009

EU officials involved in drafting the next edition of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD 2) appear to be back-tracking on the requirement for buildings to have display energy certificates (DECs).

The approach to energy certification proposed in EPBD 2, currently in draft form, appears to concentrate solely on a building's predicted energy performance. This is despite the requirements of CEN 15603 (developed in support of the EPBD) which defines calculated energy ratings (asset ratings) for new construction, and for sale or let, and measured energy ratings (operational ratings) for buildings in use.

However, the latest draft of EPBD 2 makes no mention of measured ratings. Instead it offers the option of calculated energy consumption.

Section 2.3 of the draft EPBD 2 says: "the energy performance of a building will mean either the calculated amount of energy that would theoretically be needed to meet the annual energy demand associated with a typical use of the building, which includes inter alia energy used for heating, hot water, cooling, ventilation and lighting; or the total measured amount of energy actually consumed for all energy end uses over a year."

While EPBD 2 will still require an energy certificate to be displayed, this is referred to as the energy performance certificate, not the display energy certificate.

BSRIA's head of training, David Bleicher, who provides instruction on the EPBD to building services engineers, says that abandoning display energy certificates would be a retrograde step.

"The UK government must not backtrack on display energy certificates." he said. "Energy reporting must be based on actual measurements not theoretical values, as there is often a big difference between the two.

"We can't kid our way to a low carbon future," he added.

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