Energy performance certificates in the residential sector

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Energy Performance Certificates in the Residential Sector

Chapter One - Introduction

Contextual Background

Throughout the world the real estate sector is accountable for around 30% of global carbon emissions and 40% of global energy consumption (RICS 2005). Being one of the largest sectors in both carbon emissions and energy consumption it was obvious that it should be targeted. In 2003 the European Union implemented the Energy Performance of Building Directive (2002/91/EC on the Energy Performance of Buildings). Its purpose is to "promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the Community". The European Union felt the best way to achieve this was to ask member states to ensure that when a building is built, sold or rented an energy performance certificate is made available to potential purchasers or tenants. Each member state is responsible for ensuring that an EPC is made available, within Northern Ireland the 'Department of Finance and Personnel' (DFPNI) are responsible under the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008.

The 'Energy Performance of Buildings Directive' (EPBD) was introduced through the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Kyoto Protocol has outlined targets to which thirty seven major countries must meet. They must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Britain and Northern Ireland are to cut its greenhouse emissions by 12.5% of its 1990 level by 2012 according to the Kyoto project. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change the UK is on track to almost double the reduction to 23% by 2012.

Energy Performance Certificates where made mandatory in the summer of 2008. They where phased in;

* 30 June 2008: Sale of existing dwellings

* 30 September 2008: Dwellings and non-dwellings on construction

* 30 December 2008: Rental of existing buildings; sale of existing non-dwellings.

In addition to producing energy performance certificates for the residential sector, regulations where also in place to implement certificates for large public sectors buildings over 1000square meters. These are known as Display energy certificates or DEC's. They are measured by the amount of energy the building uses and are updated annually.

EPC's can only be produced by registered energy performance assessors. The assessors are accredited by approved accreditation schemes and must register annually with the national registrar.

There are a number of different accreditation schemes available to become a certificed assessor. There are also two different types of assessor, domestic and non domestic energy assessor (DEA and NDEA). Every EPC produced is recorded on the registrar along with the data gathered from assessing the property. The registrar in Northern Ireland is maintained by a company called Landmark.

Epc's record ratings for the energy efficiency of a building and the environmental impact of a building.

Domestic Energy Assessors are trained to Level 3 which is Domestic level only and gathers 'Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure' (RDSAP). An on-construction EPC is a form of SAP assessment and the assessor would record more info like u values of the materials used, orientation of the building, areas of walls and windows etc. He is what's known as a OCDEA (On Construction Domestic Energy Assessor). Houses built since September 2008 need an OCDEA to produce an On-construction EPC (or new build epc). There are other certificates required for new builds like the design SAP Calculations and the As Built SAP calculations. BRE is a body called the Building Research Establishment who will provide training and qualifications for SAP assessors. They also have their own software for the poduction of EPCs and SAP calcalculations. There are many different bodies like BRE ie Stroma, NHER, and Elmhurst. Commercial rating is undertaken by assessors who are Level 4 and 5. Level 4 is for commercial and public buildings level 5 for production or industrial buildings.

Aim of Dissertation

Critically assess and analyse Energy Performance Certificates in the Residential lettings Sector.


Assess the impact of Energy Performance Certificates on the residential lettings sector.

Assess the views of current and potential tenants

Assess the views of landlords

Assess the views of Property professionals and Energy Assessors


There are distinctive differences between 'Quantitative' and Qualitative' research.

(Williman, 2005)noted,

In order to satisfy the stated aims and objectives the researcher must consider whether the research is to be of a "Quantitative" or "Qualitative" nature.

(Cresswell, 1994)

Quantitative research is 'objective' in nature. It is defined as an inquiry into a social or human problem, based on testing a hypothesis or a theory composed of variables, measured with numbers, and analysed with statistical procedures in order to determine whether the hypothesis or the theory hold true.

(Naoum, 2006)suggested that Qualitative research is subjective in nature. It emphasises meanings, experiences, description and so on, the information gathered in Qualitative research can be classified under two categories of research namely, exploratory and attitudinal.

(Creswell, 2007)aptly summarised the two concepts by suggesting 'Qualitative' research; the intent is to learn participants' views about a particular phenomenon. In respect of 'Quantitative' research, the intent is to see how data provided by participants fits an existing theory, thus the intent in 'Quantitative' Research is either to support or to refute an existing theory

Qualitative Data

Quantitative Data


* Deals with descriptions.

* Data can be observed but not measured.

* Colours, textures, smells, tastes, appearance, beauty, etc.


* Deals with numbers.

* Data which can be measured.

* Length, height, area, volume, weight, speed, time, temperature, humidity, sound levels, cost, members, ages, etc.

Chapter Two - Literature Review

Literature Review

The literature review is a key element of a 'Quantitative' study. The Literature review will assist the researcher in knowing which specific questions to ask, by developing issues and themes for the research and design process. To enable the researcher to carry out a meticulous review of the chosen area of study it vital that they consider all areas of associated literature. The researcher will also consider sources of secondary data. Secondary literature sources are those that cite from primary sources such as textbooks and newspaper articles, Naoum (2006).

Kyoto protocol

DIRECTIVE 2002/91/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings

"Energy in a Changing World" strategy

The Lisbon Strategy

Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008

This literature review will concentrate on the conventions and protocols that lead to the creation of energy performance certificates. Included in this literature review will be a detailed look at an actually EPC and political views from members of parliament and energy / property professionals.

Climate Change

Climate change is a change in the distribution of weather over time. It can be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events around an average.

Anthropogenic factors are human activities that change the environment. One of the major causes of climate change is the amount of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere.

* United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The UNFCCC main aim is to control the amount of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere. The UNFCCC does not set any mandatory limits or guidelines to the amount of greenhouse gases but instead set protocols that would be compulsory and legally binding. The UNFCCC came into force on March 21, 1994 and at the time of writing the UNFCCC had 192 parties. Once the UNFCCC was formed it formed national greenhouse gas inventories. They used these inventories to set the benchmark levels for 1990. The Kyoto protocol uses these benchmarks to measure performance. The UNFCCC classified all members into three distinct groups;

* Annex I countries

* Annex II countries

* Developing Countries

Annex I countries have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels to targets that are mostly set below their 1990 levels. The UK must reduce there GHG by 12.5% of the 1990 levels by 2012.

Annex II countries are simply a subgroup of Annex I countries and are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The Annex II countries must pay the costs for the developing countries. Developing counties aren't required to reduce emissions under the agreement.

Kyoto Protocol

This protocol is part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). All member countries of the UNFCC meet annually to discuss and assess it's progress relating to climate change. These meetings are called Conferences of the Parties (COP). At the third COP, this took place in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan the UNFCC adopted the Kyoto Protocol. Its aim is to combat global warming by controlling our greenhouse gas emissions which enter and harm our atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol was established in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. To date 187 countries have signed up to the protocol. The United States of America is the largest non-member. When rejecting the protocol Mr. Bush cited poor scientific facts,"protocol emission targets not scientifically based".

Bush claimed that America stands to loose 5 million jobs and a further $400 billion in revenue should the treaty be adopted.

The Economics of Climate Change 2007

Stern Review

A 700 page report produced my Nicholas Stern and his team of economist at HM treasury for the British government. It discusses the effects of global warming on the world economy. The reports main conclusion is that early and strong action now will far out way the costs involved if no action where taken in relation to climate change. Stern stated that 1% of the global GDP would be enough to counteract the causes of global warming. However in August 2008 a report in the guardian newspaper quoted Stern that this figure should be increased approx 2% of GDP to account for faster than expected climate change.

One of the main conclusions of the stern review was;

"Emissions have been, and continue to be, driven by economic growth; yet stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere is feasible and consistent with continued growth".

The review has come under some criticism however, the review, ultimately fails to provide a convincing case for spending a large amount of scarce financial resources on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Eric Neumayer 2007). While other papers argue that human-induced climate change is not real (Byatt et al., 2006 )

Fuel Poverty

Currently, 203,000 families, representing 33% of households in Northern Ireland, live in fuel poverty (NEA, 2004a NEA, Fuel poverty: the health imperative, NIHE/NEA, Belfast (2004).Niamh Shortt, Jorun RugkÃÂ¥sa, 2007). Damp is one of the most common health hazards associated with poor housing and is largely a result of poor insulation and inadequately heated homes. In Northern Ireland social housing tenants spend a greater proportion of their income on energy needs than any other social group (Anon, 1997). The U.K. Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) was established in 1996 to address energy consumption of the national housing stock. Improving the thermal performance of dwelling envelopes in existing social housing is a priority in Northern Ireland as 79% of total domestic energy consumption is due to space-heating (Anon, 1996).

Building Energy Analysis (BEA)


Within the UK the recommended method for measuring an buildings energy rating is 'standard assessment procedure' or SAP. This method calculates the amount of energy the building is using per annum. To calculate 'energy performance certicates' assessors use 'reduced data standard assessment procedure' or 'RdSAP'.


Cresswell. (1994).

Creswell, P. C. (2007).

Naoum. (2006).

Williman. (2005).

"The walls were so damp and cold" fuel poverty and ill health in Northern Ireland: Results from a housing intervention

Health & Place, Volume 13, Issue 1, March 2007, Pages 99-110

Niamh Shortt, Jorun RugkÃÂ¥sa

A missed opportunity: The Stern Review on climate change fails to tackle the issue of non-substitutable loss of natural capital

Global Environmental Change, Volume 17, Issues 3-4, August-October 2007, Pages 297-301

Eric Neumayer

I. Byatt, I. Castles, I.D. Goklany, D. Henderson, N. Lawson, R. McKitrick, J. Morris, A. Peacock, C. Robinson and R. Skidelsky, The Stern Review: a dual critiqueâ€"economic aspects, World Economics 7 (4) (2006), pp. 199-229.Byatt et al., 2006

Building Energy Analysis (BEA): A methodology to assess building energy labelling

Energy and Buildings, Volume 39, Issue 6, June 2007, Pages 709-716

F.J. Rey, E. Velasco, F. Varela