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Energy Performance of Buildings

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 standardised 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 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/31/EU (EPBD) was transposed by the Environment (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012. This legislation came fully into force on the 4th October 2012. The Regulations define the approved methodology for calculating the energy performance of buildings as well as the setting of the minimum energy performance standards that need to be met by different building types. The competent authority for Energy Performance Legislation is the Department of the Environment and Climate Change (DECC). Government Accredited Energy Assessors will prepare energy performance certificates (EPC) and recommendation reports using the approved methodology, SBEM-GI.

Approved Methodology

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 HM Government of Gibraltar and is the official methodology used to calculate the energy performance of dwellings and non-domestic buildings.

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.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards

H.M. Government of Gibraltar approves minimum energy performance standards for buildings. These are regularly updated to reflect increased environmental ambition and encapsulated within the SBEM-GI software. Standards exist for both new and existing buildings across the residential and non-residential sectors.

Failure to achieve these standards will result in a certificate of fitness not being issued by Building Control. As such builders/developers are encouraged to produce Predictive Energy Assessments for their projects to verify that the minimum standards will be met before works begin.

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

A Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) is one with a very high energy performance where the nearly zero or very low amount of energy required is extensively covered by renewable energy produced onsite or nearby. All new buildings are required to meet this NZEB standard as from the 1st January 2021.

Guidance on what this means in practice and how these standards can be met can be found at the link below.

NZEB Guidance Document

Technical Building System Requirements

The regulations also define the minimum technical building system requirements that must be met when installing or replacing such systems in existing buildings. These minimum requirements are set out in the following guidance documents:

Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide
Non-Domestic Services Compliance Guide

as amended from time to time, and which shall apply in Gibraltar with such modifications (for example, in nomenclature) as the circumstances in Gibraltar may require.

Building Owners, Landlord and Tenants and Estate Agents

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.If a building with an EPC is being offered for sale or rent, the seller must state the energy performance of the building in any advertisements. Estate agents should ensure that ths information is included when advertising any propertyu for sale or rent.

Public Authorities

Public authorities or institutions providing public services, with a total useful floor area of over 250 m2, will need to provide and display an Energy Performance Certificate for the building. Thismust 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.

EPC Inventory of Government Buildings

DECC carries out 6 monthly inspections of the above buildings to ensure that the certificates are being properly displayed.

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.

Forms for Compliance Checking with the Environment (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012:

  • Approved Document F1A: Conservation of Fuel and Powerin new dwellings (available soon)
  • Approved Document F1B: Conservation of Fuel and Power in existing dwellings (available soon)
  • Approved Document F2A: Conservation of Fuel and Power in new buildings other than dwellings (available soon)
  • Approved Document F2B: Conservation of Fuel and Power in existing buildings other than dwellings (available soon)