A third of local authorities in breach of energy regulations

Category: Energy Efficiency

EPCNeedless to say, local authorities have a huge role to play in the UK’s quest for energy efficiency.

That’s why it was slightly surprising to see that almost a third were still found to be in breach of EU energy regulations by a recent freedom of information bid.

Organised by the Property and Energy Professionals Association (PEPA), 30% of local authorities revealed they did not comply with the European Directive, despite it having been a requirement since late 2007.

The European Directive requires public buildings over 500m2 to have Display Energy Certificates (DEC) on display, with the government spending £1.9 million each year on helping local authorities to comply.

In addition, a DEC must be included in any marketing material about a property and theoretically failure to do this can result in a fine.

These certificates, known as Energy Performance Certificates in Scotland, highlight a building’s energy performance and last for one year from issue.

By not prioritising energy efficiency, non-compliant local authorities are not only failing to pull their weight in terms of the UK’s carbon reduction targets but also harming the economy, given many public buildings continue to leak energy at an astonishing rate.

Rather than lack of awareness or consideration, it seems many are simply unsure of the best course of action to take in terms of energy efficiency – unwilling to risk public money on defect reparation that could ultimately be little more than a bandage on a gaping wound.

Now more than ever, however, ignorance is not bliss and an increasing social pressure will likely force non-compliant organisation into action sooner rather than later – and that’s precisely why an increasing number have turned to infrared thermography in recent years.

Captured in a matter of seconds, a thermal image of a property can show precisely where a building is losing heat and highlight defects that are leading to energy loss. We’ve taken this a stage further with our patented Envision software that quantifies the loss in monetary terms.

Used in conjunction with our carbon dashboard, clients can then experiment in real time with changes to the building fabric to determine the best course of action to take.

That’s why we firmly believe the combination of independent third party thermographic surveyors (who do not physically sell any products) and reputable contractors is the only direction for local authorities to go in to be sure they are investing public money wisely.

In one of our biggest projects with a local authority, we surveyed 90 schools in Scotland in just 30 days – a timescale that would have been a logistic impossibility with more traditional surveying techniques.

One of the schools surveyed.

With a team of six surveyors and our elevated imaging mast vehicle, we photographed all roofs and elevations in a completely non-destructive way and discovered an average of 15m2 of missing insulation per elevation and 100m2 of wet insulation identified per flat roof.

Crucially, the results allowed accurate grading and listing in order of recommended refurbishment priority.

If you are interested in reading the full case study for this project you can download it here.