Display energy certificates will be compulsory for commercial buildings within 18 months

All commercial buildings will have to display their actual energy performance on site within 18 months, under government plans unveiled this week.

The move would mean use of display energy certificates (DEC) will be mandatory for all commercial buildings by October 2012.

This is part of a set of green measures outlined this week in the coalition’s Carbon Plan.

Currently, commercial building operators have to calculate an energy performance certificate (EPC) when a building is let or sold.

However, unlike EPCs, DECs measure the actual energy performance, not the estimated amount based on its design.

The ratings, which run from A to G, will also have to be displayed for viewing in a building’s entrance or lobby, as is are currently only mandatory on public buildings.

The British Property Federation and green lobby groups have been calling for the adoption of DECs as central to improving the performance of existing commercial buildings.

Patrick Brown, assistant director at the body, said: “This is what we had hoped for, it really encourages the better management of buildings. We have a lot of tools to measure planned sustainability, but very few measure actual performance.”

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “This is great news and something we’ve been campaigning on for a long time.”

This week’s Carbon Plan also confirmed that the contract for the first UK carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project will be awarded before December 2011, with £1bn of public funding for “the largest publicly funded CCS project in the world.”