Headlines: March 30th, 2007



Town halls, museums, galleries and other public buildings will have to have energy ratings, just like those on fridges and other appliances, and to display them to the public from next April. The idea is that visitors will be able to see the annual carbon emissions from each building as a way of encouraging energy improvements, reducing costs and ensuring public bodies lead the way in cutting carbon emissions.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said more than 40 per cent of carbon emissions in the UK were from buildings and she added, “From the local library to the House of Commons, the public sector must do its bit to cut carbon emissions.” Organisations using public buildings, as well as people using them, she said, often had little idea how energy efficient they were or what could be done to improve them. “From April next year, all public buildings will need to be energy rated so we can track progress in cutting carbon emissions and cutting fuel bills too,” the Minister said.

The plan is part of a package of measures included in new Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations, which also see Energy Performance Certificates for homes as a step towards Home Information Packs. From June, performance certificates will have to be provided as part of HIPs for all homes and it is estimated they will save home buyers an estimated 300 pounds a year on fuel bills if the recommendations to be supplied by the Energy Saving Trust are implemented. From October next year tenants in private rented homes will get an EPC from their landlords.

The Government also wants to link the EPCs to the development of green mortgages and grants from utility companies to help homeowners who want to improve properties by achieving better performance ratings.