Industry body claims many local authorities are failing to use mandatory energy use certificates for public buildings

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Fewer local authorities are adhering to a requirement to display certificates setting out the energy efficiency performance of public buildings, the head of the Property and Energy Professionals Association has warned.

Display energy certificates (DECs) show a building’s real energy use year-on-year and are mandatory by law for all public buildings over 1,000sqm. The scheme was introduced to encourage improvements in the energy efficiency performance of public buildings thereby stimulating work for builders.

In April 2011 PEPA found that 16,550 out of an estimated 40,000 eligible public buildings, mostly run by local authorities, did not have DECs.

Now, Mike Ockenden, director of the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA), claims anecdotal evidence from his members shows the problem is getting worse and has commissioned a second study into the situation.

“We’ve even had some councils that have literally said to us, ‘We are not going to do it go away’” he said.

“The numbers have gotten worse for two reasons one of which is that local authorities have been squeezed for funds.”

He said the second reason was that the DECs were enforced by trading standards personnel who are mostly employed by councils, creating a conflict of interest.

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “There are nearly 6,000 government buildings of which 1,289 require a Display Energy Certificate and as noted in a recent Cabinet Office report the majority of those buildings do.

“Local councils are responsible for ensuring that relevant buildings under their control have an up to date Display Energy Certificate.”