Energy certificates are failing to kickstart efficiency improvements in buildings, according to a joint survey by Building and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers

Early findings of the survey of property professionals and energy assessors show that only 21% of property professionals asked energy assessors to implement recommendations made in the energy performance certificate (EPC) or display energy certificate (DEC).

Only 29% asked for a detailed survey of the property and 25% sought costing for recommendations from assessors.

The news comes in the week that producing an EPC became a legal requirement.

Responses from a companion survey of energy assessors corroborated the findings, with 31% of respondents saying more than three-quarters of their clients were just looking for the lowest possible cost for a certificate.

This is the only way we have any hope of reducing carbon emissions from buildings

Jacqueline Balian, CIBSE

Nearly a third said less than 5% of clients were seeking to move up an EPC grade.

CIBSE said the findings were a source of “serious concern”. “The most valuable element of an EPC is the recommendations report,” said managing director Jacqueline Balian. “A customised report can identify ways for clients to save considerable amounts of money. And it is the only way we have any hope of really reducing carbon emissions from buildings.”

Robin Parker, head of architecture at sustainability consultant Stroma, said: “EPCs and DECs are seen by most commercial clients as a necessity and once produced are forgotten about. Automatically generated recommendation reports cannot replace building analysis.”

The surveys were completed by 132 property professionals and 144 energy assessors.