As EPCs come into effect in the UK, a poll by legal firm LG suggests that European countries are not taking energy efficiency seriously.
The poll, which gathered responses from law firms across 18 European countries, suggested that improving energy efficiency remains a low priority for most European businesses.
According to LG, only respondents in the UK and Switzerland noted a relatively high level of interest in or awareness of the energy efficiency of buildings.
Partner at LG, Catherine Diggle, said: “Many countries are still lagging behind with their implementation of it, and there have been more than 20 infringement cases.
“Our findings suggest a strong need for all governments to adopt a more incentive-driven approach to promoting energy efficiency in the commercial sector…Energy Performance Certificates amount to little more than the label on the tin - they don't in themselves reduce the carbon footprint of European businesses. Unless firms feel this in the pocket it seems unlikely that further regulation will bring about a significant change, particularly in a worsening economic climate when green issues are falling down the list of priorities for many businesses”
Energy Performance Certificates amount to little more than the label on the tin...Unless firms feel this in the pocket it seems unlikely that further regulation will bring about a significant change.
Catherine Diggle, Partner, LG
EPC Energy Assessor Judy Ong said: “I think energy efficiency is actually going up the business agenda. A lot of companies have enjoyed low fuel prices. They’ve had great deals from the energy providers and that’s come to an end this year, and in general a lot of the big companies are very aware of their corporate responsibilities.
“While at the moment there are no incentives to take on board the recommendations, EPCs do raise awareness. There’s not going to be any significant change in carbon emissions for the next five years, I would say. But this is just the first stage - this is just the measuring stage. I would imagine that the next stage will set targets, like a minimum rating. Then you’ll start to see real carbon reductions.”
From 1 October, all commercial buildings marketed for sale or letting in the UK will need an EPC. The UK Government has introduced transitory measures that mean owners of commercial properties have until 4 January to obtain their EPC, or until the property is sold or rented, in which case an EPC will be part of the transaction.
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