The Association of Property and Energy Professionals (APEP), which represents Energy Assessors and Home Inspectors, along with the associated Accreditation/Certification Schemes, has raised concerns over the Government’s failure to assess the level of compliance with the requirement to provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the commercial property sector.
During a House of Lords debate yesterday, Lord Dixon Smith asked the Government whether they had ‘assessed the level of compliance with the requirement to provide energy performance certificates for buildings being sold in the commercial property sector.’
In response to this question, the Minister, Lord McKenzie of Luton replied that ‘no assessment has been made’ but that there were plans to ‘assess the level of compliance later this year.’ Lord McKenzie of Luton then went on to say that a full report would be available ‘in the summer of next year.’
However, APEP believes that this is too little, too late. Justin Parkinson of Energy Reports and Surveys Ltd. and spokesperson for APEP, comments:
“I fail to see how, as a nation, we can even begin to work towards our carbon emission targets and the increased use of renewable energy if we are not assessing our usage today. The EPC (whether for domestic or commercial buildings) was designed specifically to allow us to measure current levels of energy usage and to work towards the Government’s carbon emission targets.
“The EPC assists owners, landlords and tenants in cutting fuel bills, improving energy performance and ultimately, reducing carbon emissions. Without the use of the EPC, how can anyone measure where they are or make a decision about how to improve?”
“What the Government is effectively saying is that there is no time pressure on reducing emissions and increasing efficiency, yet we have a huge gap in our access to energy supplies – with gas demand outstripping gas supply by 2014 and no ability to plug this supply gap until new nuclear power stations come on line in 2016. In contrast to the Government’s lackadaisical approach, I believe time is very much of the essence.
“We want to see greater compliance, with fines being levied for those blatantly choosing to flout the law. We would also like to see the Government give the 10,000+ trained Energy Assessors, the authority to advise consumers on energy saving measures more widely. If the energy companies can access CERT funding to support their meter readers in talking to consumers, why is it not possible for this funding to be used to fund the existing Energy Assessors, to both assess and advise on improving efficiency? After all, surely we all want the same thing – a reduction in our energy consumption?”