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U-turn over compulsory energy assessments for commercial buildings

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Government slammed by green groups after watering down proposals

The government has scrapped plans to introduce compulsory energy performance assessments for commercial buildings.

Compulsory assessments will now only apply to a building’s design, rather than its actual performance.

The decision has been slammed by green building groups, who have warned that the actual amount of energy used by a building often bears little correlation to projections at the design stage.

Correspondence from building regulations minister Don Foster, seen by BD’s sister title Building, confirms that plans for compulsory display energy certificates for the private sector have been dropped.

Instead, the commercial sector will be required to obtain less stringent energy performance certificates, which measure projected energy use.

Display energy certificates, which measure a property’s actual energy performance, are already compulsory for public buildings.

John Alker, policy manager at the UK Green Building Council, said the decision to scrap the policy was a “short-sighted decision, which flies in the face of good sense and a pretty broad industry consensus - and breaks a clear promise made last year.”

Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, added that the decision was “perverse”. He said: “I doubt the government can find anybody who supports this.”

The news comes as Jones Lang LaSalle and the Better Buildings Partnership published a report calling for actual energy performance to be assessed in commercial buildings.

“We have shown that there is little or no correlation between a building’s design (as measured by EPCs) and its actual consumption,” the report said.

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