The European Commission, the primary legislative body of the EU, has put forward proposals to make changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). CLG has published a consultation on the proposals to allow it to reflect the views of UK stakeholders back to the commission.
The proposals are in two categories. The first stage, which UK government supports seeks to clarify and simplify the directive. The other part seeks to expand and strengthen the directive. The UK government is largely opposed to this, in common with its general policy on Europe, and takes the view that many of the issues should remain with member states under the general principle of subsidiarity.
Looking at the key proposals they are as follows:
- buildings occupied by public authorities or where the public visit regularly are to have a Display Energy Certificate on display where the building is larger than 250 sq m as oppose to the current size of 1000 sq m;
- any commercial or domestic building which is renovated will also have to have its energy performance upgraded at the same time for which targets will be set;
- there will be minimum requirements for technical building systems such as boilers in commercial property.
Naturally this will cause increased costs for many older properties. However, given the impact of empty building rates on commercial property and the consequent knocking down of some of these properties the impact may well be small. In residential properties properties being renovated will have to have their performance improved but this would probably be done in the majority of renovations anyway.
The consultation is open for responses until 2 October 2009.