Energy Performance Certificates Confusing for Consumers

Energy performance certificates which rate the energy efficiency of buildings are potentially more confusing than helpful for consumers, says the newspaper Welt.

As a result of Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 on the energy performance of buildings, the Energy Savings Ordinance (Verordnung über energiesparenden Wärmeschutz und energiesparende Anlagentechnik bei Gebäuden – Energieeinsparverordnung – EnEV) stipulates that with few exceptions energy performance certificates are required for private buildings in Germany. They are also mandatory for buildings with a total useful floor area over 1,000 m² occupied by public authorities and by institutions providing public services to a large number of persons.

If cost-effective improvements of the energy efficiency are possible, they have to be shown in the certificate. The certificate is valid for 10 years. It has to be produced without delay on request of a potential buyer, tenant or lessee. The energy survey needed to produce an energy performance certificate has to take a complex set of items into consideration, which are listed in an annex.

There are two types of certificates, one shows the energy performance on the basis of the building’s energy demand, the other on the basis of the energy consumption. The first type is required for new buildings and in case of major alterations and extensions, as well as for existing buildings with less than five apartments that do not meet the requirements of the Heat Insulation Ordinance of 1 November 1977. For all other buildings, the type of certificate can be chosen.

In most cases, a certificate based on the energy consumption shows more positive results than the one based on the energy demand.  On the one hand, this is due to the fact that heat losses affect the rating pursuant to EnEV to a rather high degree. On the other hand, EnEV ratings are made on the assumption that the whole building is heated, whereas many inhabitants only heat the rooms they use.

The association of property owners, Haus & Grund, also criticizes that the result of the energy survey depends on the software used. According to Haus & Grund, different types of software produce different outcomes.

Source: Welt; EnEV 2009

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