I am increasingly concerned that the energy performance regime envisioned by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) will fail through the reductionist approach we take to solving problems.

The EPBD takes a holistic view of the energy performance of an individual building, but this does not automatically lead to a continual improvement in the energy performance of the built environment unless the ‘do, check, act’ circle is completed through the users.

My immediate concern is the display of energy certificates. I am seeing Display Energy Certificates (DECs) in A4 format where they make no impact and will not serve any educational purpose, nor generate any pressure for continual improvement.

This has happened in the higher education establishment where I teach construction sustainability and shows a failure to understand the wider issues in the transition to a low-carbon future.

Many schools are getting low/zero-carbon technologies such as wind turbines. While of interest as educational tools, it is as part of an integrated energy monitoring and conservation plan that their educational potential will be realised.

Education for sustainability in the built environment is now taking a high priority in many higher and further education institutions and this is to be welcomed.

But simply providing skills to built environment students will not suffice. Students in all disciplines must learn the importance of contributions to energy management and conservation.

Also, no requirement to display Energy Performance Certificates in buildings for which they are mandatory is an issue. We must not allow energy performance to become a bureaucratic exercise, a money-making opportunity for consultants and another failed initiative.

Derek Deighton, Low Carbon Consultant