Use DECs to cut energy bills in the public sector

As previously reported the Clean Growth Strategy has been the catalyst for a  flurry of consultation documents and "calls for evidence" that refer to energy certificates. The latest needing a response is a call for evidence titled "Leading By Example - Cutting energy bills and carbon emissions in the public and higher education sectors".

The government report that public and higher education sectors have cut their energy use by 10%, saving around £200 million and reduced emissions by 29% in the six years between 2010 and 2016 and, in our view, part of this success is attributable to Display Energy Certificates (DECs). However their own studies suggest that savings of up to £860 million a year, on a £2 billion spend, are still possible. These savings would help ease pressure on wider public finance.

The type of buildings that the government  to which the call for evidence refers includes

  • Local Authorities
  • National Health Service
  • Further and higher education institutions (colleges, universities)
  • Emergency services
  • Cultural (museums, libraries) and leisure centres
  • Non-residential premises for social housing (e.g. offices, storage)

but disappointingly schools and central government buildings are excluded!

Firstly, Elmhurst believes that if Government are going to deliver the title of the document then they truly need to "lead by example" and be within the scope of the consultation.

Secondly, Government actually has an excellent tool available already in the occupancy rating that is provided with a Display Energy Certificate. Elmhurst will be arguing that by extending the need for DECs to central government, public and higher education buildings, as well as schools, you will cost effectively

  • stimulate public interest in energy efficiency,
  • create a benchmarking tool that allows for comparisons between similar building types,
  • provide recommendations for improvement that local management can implement, and
  • provide a public demonstration of improvement in cost and carbon

Elmhurst will be responding to DCLG's Call for Evidence, and welcome Member's input before we publish our views. Elmhurst members, especially DEC assessors, are encouraged contribute individually.

The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 7th December 2017

The call for evidence can be downloaded here

Article Published: 30th November 2017

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