Buildings fail to live up to energy performance predictions

2nd March 2015

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  • Property ,
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  • Auditing


Timothy Linnington

Guidance on how to ensure buildings meet expectations on energy use has been published by researchers who claim that consumption can often be double that predicted by its designers.

The report from the building research centre, the BRE, and industry group the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA), aims to help facilities managers and operators reconcile the difference between predicted and actual energy use in buildings, which they call the "performance gap".

There are currently two indicators of a building's energy performance. All properties must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating, which is a theoretical assessment of a buildings energy needs in optimum conditions, while large public sector buildings (over 500m2) must display a display energy certificate (DEC) showing actual energy consumption.

The DEC is almost always higher due to occupant behaviour, non-standard hours of operation, and unregulated energy uses such as IT and office equipment, according to the report.

The report suggests that building operators can better understand the energy use of a building and how to improve it by using data from an EPC and a DEC, and inputting it into the government's green deal assessment tool (GD-SBEM).

The tool can also help them calculate the costs and related payback of investment in equipment to improve efficiency, it says. In addition, larger organisations can use the tool to help report against the energy savings opportunity scheme (ESOS).

BRE and ESTA have also published published guidance on how to make a financial case for investing in energy efficiency improvements. Author of the report, Andy Lewry said: "One of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of energy efficiency measures in an organisation is a poor business case.

"Critical to your success are clear and concise metrics that address the consequences of a do-nothing strategy and messaging that appeal to a non-technical, financially driven audience," he said.

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