Royal Decree 235/2013, of 5 April, was published in the BOE [Official State Gazette] on Saturday, 13 April 2013, thereby approving the basic procedure for certifying the energy efficiency of buildings.

This Royal Decree, following the requisites of recent EC directives (Directive 2010/31/EU) regarding the energy efficiency of buildings, sets forth the obligation to make an energy efficiency certificate available to buyers or users of buildings, which must include objective information about the energy efficiency of a building. To learn what the minimum energy efficiency requirements of buildings or building units are, the Technical Building Code must be used.

The Certificate of Energy Efficiency is a report that contains information about the energy characteristics and energy rating of a building or a part of the same. Once obtained, it must be submitted by the builder or owner of the building to the competent body of the Autonomous Community regarding certification on energy performance of buildings for the recording thereof in the corresponding territorial registry. After recording, the owner of the building must keep the certificate for its maximum validity of ten years, at which time it must be renewed, unless previous variations had occurred to aspects that might affect the previously issued certificate.

Certificates of energy efficiency must be at the disposal of competent authorities, either included in the Building Book, if it were mandatory to keep one, or in the possession of the owner of the building or of a part of the same or in the possession of the president of the property owners association.

Obtaining the certificate of energy efficiency confers the right to use the so-called energy efficiency label during its period of validity. This label should be included in all offers, promotions and advertising used for the sale or lease of a building or units of the same.

All buildings or units of buildings that are privately owned and that are regularly frequented by the public, with a surface area that is equal to or greater than 500 m2, must display the energy efficiency label in a prominent location that is fully visible to the public. Buildings that are occupied by public authorities and that are regularly frequented by the public, with a total surface area exceeding 250 m2 must also display said label in a visible and prominent location. For all other cases, displaying the energy efficiency label will be voluntary and according to the provisions approved by the autonomous communities for such purpose.

The following buildings are not bound to obtain the energy efficiency certificate: i) Officially protected buildings and monuments due to being a part of a designated environment or due to their particular architectural or historical merit; ii) Buildings used exclusively as places of worship or for religious activities; iii) Temporary buildings with a time of use of two years or less; iv) Industrial, defence and agricultural buildings; v) Buildings whose surface area is less than 50 m2; and vi) Buildings that are purchased for major reforms or demolition and residential buildings or parts of existing residential buildings whose intended use is less than four months of the year and with an expected energy consumption of less than 25% of what would be the result of allyear use, as long as a statement to such effect is made by the owner.

The certificate of energy efficiency must include at least the following information: i) The identification of the building that is being certified; ii) An indication of the procedure used to obtain the energy efficiency rating; iii) An indication of the applicable regulations on energy savings and efficiency at the time of construction; iv) A description of the energy characteristics of the building; v) The energy efficiency rating, expressed by the corresponding label; vi) For existing buildings, recommendations for improvement of the optimum or cost-effective levels, if necessary; vii) A brief description of the tests conducted for the energy rating; and viii) Compliance with the environmental requisites required of technical installations.

The Royal Decree sets forth that a breach of the precepts of the Basic Procedure included in the same will be considered, in any event, a violation regarding certification of the energy efficiency of buildings and will be fined in accordance with the provisions set forth in the legal rules that may be applicable. Likewise, it sets forth that if a breach of the precepts of the basic procedure could constitute a violation regarding the defence of consumers and users, it will likewise be fined in accordance with the Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 of 16 November. Article 51 of said Royal Legislative Decree sets forth the amount of minor, serious and very serious violations, which can range from the amount of 3,005.06 euros for minor violations up to between €15,025.31 and €601,012.10, this amount even exceeding by up to five times the amount of the assets or services, object of the violation, for very serious violations.

While Royal Decree 235/2013 entered into force on the day following the publication thereof in the BOE (BOE number 89 of Saturday, 13 April 2013), making the certificate of energy efficiency available to buyers and lessees is enforceable for purchase or lease agreements that have been signed as from 1 June 2013.