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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Checking a public building’s energy performance

If you use or work in a large public building, you can find out about its energy use and carbon emissions by looking at its Display Energy Certificate (DEC). Find out which buildings have a DEC and what the certificate contains.

Display Energy Certificates – which buildings have them

DECs are a way of showing the energy efficiency of a building. The DEC must be displayed clearly in buildings occupied by public authorities and institutions that provide services to the public, have a floor area of over 1,000 metres squared and are frequently visited by the public. It must be updated every year.

Public authorities include central and local government, schools, courts and prisons. Institutions that provide services to the public include organisations that provide services paid for by the taxpayer.

What the DEC looks like and contains

A DEC contains three main charts – the operational rating, carbon dioxide emissions and previous operational ratings from the last three years. Follow the link below to see an example of a DEC from the Communities and Local Government website.

Operational rating

The operational rating is a measurement of the energy efficiency of the building, on a scale from ‘A’ to ‘G’. ‘A’ is the most efficient and ‘G’ is the least efficient.

The certificate also shows the operational ratings for the last three years. You can use these ratings to check whether the energy efficiency has improved or not.

Advisory report

An advisory report is always produced alongside the DEC and must be kept by whoever is responsible for looking after the building. This report includes recommendations on what the organisation can do to improve the building’s energy efficiency. It is valid for seven years.

The report also includes figures for actual energy use taken from the building’s meter readings, and carbon dioxide emissions measured in tonnes per year.

What happens if a DEC isn't displayed

If you think a DEC should be displayed, contact the person in charge of looking after the building. If this fails, you can contact the local trading standards office.

Organisations can be fined £500 for not having a DEC on display in a prominent place that is clearly visible to the public. A fine of up to £1,000 can be given for not having a valid advisory report.

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