What are DECs and why do I need One.
Reducing the energy consumption of our existing building stock is crucial to significantly reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions, which are contributing to climate change. The European Performance of Buildings Directive was adopted in 2003 to help tackle this issue, setting standards for minimum energy performance for new and existing buildings.
DECs are intended to raise public awareness of energy consumption and therefore lead by example in encouraging energy efficiency improvements. A DEC shows a building’s operational energy rating on a scale from 1 - 200 which is split into equal bands from A to G, with A being the best. D is the UK average equating to a score of 100.
Compulsory for public authority buildings with a floor area over 250 m2 (such as many libraries, schools and council offices) a DEC can also offer a range of benefits to businesses. A DEC is valid for a year and must be updated annually. The previous two years rating is also shown on the DEC to highlight what progress has been made. The DEC must be clearly displayed, no smaller than A3 in size, in a prominent place where the public can see it. The DEC is accompanied by an Advisory Report, which contains recommendations for improving the energy performance of the building, including quick win energy management measures to longer term investments which may payback over 10 years. The report itself is valid for 7 years, whereas the DEC is valid for 12 months, if larger than 1000m2 however buildings 250m2 to 999m2 the DEC is valid for 10 Years.
How does this differ from an Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs)?
The provision for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) was also created under the European Performance of Buildings Directive. EPCs have been required since October 2008 for all buildings when they are sold, leased or built. They differ slightly from DECs as they are based on the predicted performance of the building based on its building fabric and fixed services, i.e. level of insulation, number of light fittings and heating system. An EPC makes basic assumptions for how the building will be used. It does not, however, factor in the level of electrical equipment usage or the potentially extended heating hours that an individual building occupier could implement.
Responsibilities for displaying a DEC
Under this legislation it is the responsibility of every occupier of a building affected by these regulations to:
• Display a valid DEC in a prominent place clearly visible to the public at all times in A3 size
• Have in their possession or control a valid advisory report which conveys recommendations to improve the building’s energy performance.
This must be done for each of the buildings affected
What Information is required to Produce a DEC
The occupier, in collaboration with the energy assessor, will need to obtain actual meter readings or consignment notes for all fuels used in the buildings that are affected by this legislation. This may include gas fuels, oil fuels, solid fuels, district heating and cooling, grid electricity and electricity generated on site or obtained by private distribution systems from other sites.
For district heating and cooling and electricity generated on site, or obtained by private distribution systems from other sites, the average carbon factor for the fuel over the accounting period will need to be obtained e.g. in kg of carbon dioxide per kWh delivered.
You can obtain the information required to produce a DEC from a number of sources:
• on-site energy meters;
• the building landlord or representative;
• the utility supplier;
• the district heating/cooling provider.
The calculation of the operational rating is based on annual energy consumption, which means the energy consumed over the period of one calendar year (365 days). Ideally all energies are metered over the same one-year period.
Who Pays for DECs
The 'occupier' of a school is the Local Authority where the school is either a community, voluntary controlled or community special school; and otherwise the governing body (section 78 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998). However under local management of schools, the costs falling to the school, for all of which the authority is formally responsible as maintainer, are generally to be met from the school's delegated budget share (sections 45 to 51 of the SSFA 1998). LAs may provide a buy-back service for their schools to carry out the DEC assessments and reports. Alternatively schools can commission their own accredited assessors to carry out the work.
Penalties for not having a DECs
A local authority can issue a penalty charge notice of £500 for failing to display a DEC at all times in a prominent place clearly visible to the public, and £1,000 for failing to possess or have in their control a valid advisory report. In addition to these penalties, it will still be necessary to commission the documents, otherwise further offences will be committed.
If you can demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to avoid breaching the regulations, then the penalty charge notice must be withdrawn.
If you believe the penalty charge notice should not have been given you can request a review. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the review you may appeal to the county court within 28 days after you received notice confirming the penalty charge notice.