Reducing Energy Use in Buildings
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is an EU initiative aimed at reducing the amount of energy consumed by buildings in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. This all forms part of Europe’s commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and its efforts to combat the threat of climate change.
40% of the EU’s carbon dioxide emissions come from buildings and experts estimate that it could meet up to half of its Kyoto commitments through energy efficiency measures alone.
The energy performance of a building is defined as the amount of energy actually consumed (or estimated to be necessary) to meet the different needs associated with a standard use of the building including heating/cooling, lighting and provision of hot water. The concept of a standardized use enables comparisons between buildings to be made on the basis of their intrinsic properties rather than being dependent on the user’s choice of operating patterns.
How is it being implemented in Gibraltar?
The EPBD was transposed into local legislation via the Building (Energy Performance) Rules which came into force on the 4th January 2009. In addition to this legislation, the Building Rules have been amended. These Rules now contain a section on conservation of fuel and power to reflect minimum energy performance standards. The competent authority for Energy Performance legislation is the Department of the Environment. Government Accredited Energy Assessors will prepare energy performance certificates and recommendation reports using a standard form for each type of document.
The Directive requires the creation of a methodology for the calculation of the energy performance of buildings. The Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) was developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) for the UK Department for Communities and Local Government as the default calculation for non-domestic buildings in the UK. BRE have modified and further developed this software to create a Gibraltar-specific version, (SBEM-GI). This methodology has been approved by the Government of Gibraltar and is the official methodology used to calculate the energy performance of dwellings and non-domestic buildings, as well as to carry out building regulations compliance checks.
Minimum Energy Performance Standards
The Government of Gibraltar has approved minimum energy performance standards for new and existing buildings. These equate to a CO2 emissions rating of 50 or less on the CO2 emissions scale, as calculated using the SBEM-GI software. All new buildings must meet these standards if they are to receive a certificate of fitness.
Click here to download the SBEM-GI software
Please note, however, that only qualified and accredited energy assessors will be able to produce valid Energy Performance Certificates.
How does the SBEM-GI energy calculation work?
SBEM-GI takes inputs from the software user (the assessor) and various databases, and by calculation, produces a result both in terms of energy efficiency and the annual CO2 emissions resulting from the energy used by the building and its occupants. Some of the inputs are standardized to allow consistent comparisons for building regulation and energy rating purposes in new and existing buildings.
In summary, the inputs to the calculation include:
- Physical configuration of the building (geometry)
- Internal conditions to be maintained in each zone
- External conditions
- Factors affecting fabric and ventilation heat losses, including insulation levels, airtightness, deliberate natural ventilation and geometry
- Expected heat gains, installed equipment and solar heat gains
- Information about the heating, cooling, lighting and other building services systems.
Program for Inspection of Boilers & Air Conditioning Systems
The Department of the Environment has established a program for the inspection of boilers fired by non-renewable liquid or solid fuel of an effective rated output of 20 kW to 100kW.
Such boilers will be inspected by accredited independent experts a minimum of every two years. The inspector will provide advice to the users on the replacement of the boilers, other modifications to the heating system and on alternative solutions.
Boiler Inspection Reporting Requirements
With regards to air conditioning systems, any such system with an effective rated output of 12kW or more will be subject to an inspection by an accredited independent expert a minimum of every 5 years. The inspector will provide appropriate advice to users on possible improvement or replacement of the
air-conditioning system and on alternative solutions.
A list of accredited independent experts can be found below.
List of approved independent experts for the inspection and certification of boilers & air conditioning systems
|MKL Consulting Engineers
|E&M Consulting Engineers
What does this mean for you?
The Directive requires that all buildings be issued with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) upon construction, sale or rental. Please note that under the terms of this legislation a building is defined as one that uses energy to condition the indoor climate i.e. buildings with fixed heating or cooling installations. An EPC provides a rating for the energy performance of a building. The ratings are standard so that the energy efficiency of one building can be easily compared with another building of a similar type. The ratings will look similar to a white goods energy rating where an ‘A rating’ indicates a high level of efficiency and G indicates a low level.
The Building Industry
The Building Industry will now be working to the updated Building Rules, which include a new Part F: Conservation of Fuel & Power. There is now a requirement to provide Building Control with an EPC which includes information to demonstrate that the building complies with the Building Rules. At the same time the owner of the building must also be provided with a copy of the EPC and Building Control must be advised that this has been done. The building will not receive a Certificate of Fitness until these steps have been complied with.
If a property is being sold before it has been built it will not need an EPC until construction is complete, however, the Government will be encouraging developers to provide a predictive EPC based on the building regulation compliance check at the design stage.
BUILDING OWNERS, LANDLORDS & TENANTS
If a building is being offered for sale or rent (this includes subletting) an EPC will need to be made available that reflects the energy performance of the building on offer. An EPC should be provided to the buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a viewing is conducted or when written information is provided about the building or in any event before entering into a contract to let or sell.
Public authorities or institutions providing public services, with a total useful floor area of over 1000 m2, will need to provide a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) and accompanying Advisory Report for the building. This is essentially the EPC for the building which must be prominently displayed within the building. The aim of the Directive is for the public to receive information about the energy performance of the building they are visiting.
GOVERNMENT ACCREDITED ENERGY ASSESSORS
The following individuals have undertaken the necessary training and are accredited as Energy Assessors for domestic and non-domestic buildings under the Government of Gibraltar Accreditation Scheme.
Frequently asked questions on the energy performance of buildings
What is the timetable for implementing the measures?
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was transposed into local legislation by the Building (Energy Performance) Rules 2008. The legislation came fully into force on the 4th January 2009. These Rules were subsequently amended by the Building (Energy Performance) (Amendment) Rules 2009. Energy Performance Certificates for ‘sale and rental’ of existing buildings are required. New buildings will have to meet the requirements of the Rules.
”new building” means a building (as defined in the Building (Energy Performance)(Amendment) Rules 2009) –
(a) the construction of which requires a permit under section 17 of the Town Planning Act 1999; or
(b) (in the case of an existing building) the alteration of such which constitutes a material change of use which requires a permit under section 17 of the Town Planning Act 1999, provided that such permit was granted on or after 29th December 2009.
What are the benefits to me as a landlord?
The energy rating can help rent out your property. It indicates to a prospective buyer or tenant how energy efficient your home is. It should also provide information that may help to reduce the running cost of the property.
Who is responsible for obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate?
For buildings that are to be sold, the building's owner will be responsible for ensuring a certificate is available; this should be shown, on request, to any prospective purchaser, and should in any case be provided by the owner to the ultimate purchaser before a contract for sale is made. For buildings that are to be rented, it is the landlord’s responsibility to provide the prospective tenant with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate. Energy Performance Certificates will be valid for a period of 10 years.
What buildings will be exempt from providing Energy Performance Certificates?
The following buildings are exempt from requiring an Energy Performance Certificate:
• places of worship
• stand-alone buildings of less than 50 square metres (except for dwellings)
• temporary buildings with a planned time of use of 2 years or less
• in certain limited circumstances buildings to be demolished are exempt from requiring a certificate
• an Energy Performance Certificate is not required for any (off-plan) sales or lettings before the construction of the building has been completed
How much will Energy Performance Certificates cost?
The price of an energy performance certificate will be set by the market and not by Government. We expect these costs to vary according to the size, type, and complexity of the property or development.
Will Energy Performance Certificates be required for rented accommodation?
Yes. The Rules requires that Energy Performance Certificates will need to be provided for all buildings when they are constructed, sold or rented.
Is an Energy Performance Certificate required for the private sale of a home between two individuals?
Yes. The Rules requires that Energy Performance Certificates will need to be provided for all buildings when they are constructed, sold or rented out.
What happens if my building gets a low rating?
This simply indicates your building could be more energy efficient. During the inspection a number of recommendations to improve the energy efficiency will be identified. Implementation of these could not only increase your rating and reduce carbon emissions but also save money on energy bills. It is up to you whether you implement the recommendations or not.
How do I find an energy assessor?
The list of accredited energy assessors for Gibraltar can be found on this website (see Government Accredited Energy Assessors).
Forms for Compliance Checking with Building Rules: Part F
Compliance Checklist for New Dwelling.
Compliance Checklist for New Building other than Dwelling.