The EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (the Directive) came into force on 4 June 2003 with the objective of promoting the improvement of the energy performance of buildings across the EU. Broadly speaking the Directive imposes requirements on all Member States to implement:

  • a standard methodology calculation to assess the energy performance of buildings;
  • minimum requirements for the energy performance of buildings;
  • nergy certification of buildings; and
  • regular inspections of boilers and air-conditioning systems.

The UK has implemented the Directive through the Building and Approved Inspectors (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (the 2006 Regulations) and the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (the 2007 Regulations).

Methodology Calculation

Article 3 of the Directive requires Member States to apply a methodology at national or regional level for the calculation of the energy performance of buildings. This has been implemented in the UK by Regulation 15 of the 2006 Regulations which amends the Building Regulations 2000. The Department of Communities and Local Government published its approved methodology in a Notice of Approval on 11 May 2007.

Minimum Requirements

Article 4 of the Directive requires Member States to set minimum energy performance requirements based on the methodology to be adopted under Article 3. Regulation 15 of the 2006 Regulations implements this requirement by inserting Regulation 17B into the Building Regulations 2000. Regulation 17B requires the UK Government to set target CO2 emission rates for new buildings.

Energy Certification of Buildings

Article 7 of the Directive provides that when a building is constructed, sold or rented out, an energy performance certificate (EPC) must be made available to the owner or by the owner to the prospective buyer or tenant. This requirement has been implemented in the UK by Part 2 of the 2007 Regulations. In particular, as of 1 June 2007, sellers are required to provide EPCs with home information packs where they are required under the Housing Act 2004 on the sale of existing dwellings. EPCs will also be required on the construction of all dwellings by 1 October 2007 and on the construction of all non-dwellings by the 6 April 2008. EPCs will therefore be required for all buildings in the UK, with the exception of the following:-

  • buildings used primarily or solely for worship;
  • temporary buildings with a planned time of 2 years or less;
  • industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand;
  • non-dwelling stand-alone buildings of less than 50m².

An EPC must also be displayed in any large building (i.e. with a useful floor area over 1000m²) by 6 April 2008 where that building is occupied by a public authority or by an institution providing public services to a large number of people.

hese classifications may cause initial problems with mixed use buildings or those with mixed ownership/occupancy. There has also been press comment about the adequacy of inspections and the numbers of available and competent inspectors.

Regular inspections of Boilers and Air-Conditioning Systems

The regular inspection of boilers and air-conditioning systems is required under Articles 8 and 9 of the Directive, although under Article 8 a Member State can opt to provide advice on replacing and modifying boilers instead of requiring regular inspections. This was the option chosen by the UK Government (with the Department for Communities and Local Government currently running a public information programme for boiler users). On the other hand, the UK Government is required to provide for the regular inspection of air-conditioning systems (with an effective rated output of at least 12kW) every five years, which it has done so through the implementation of Part 4 of the 2007 Regulations. The first inspections are required by 4 January 2009 for all existing air-conditioning systems over 250kW and by 4 January 2011 for all remaining air-conditioning systems over 12kW.


The thrust of the 2006 and 2007 Regulations is clear i.e. to promote energy efficiency and concentrate minds on energy demands. As ever, the application of the system will give rise to many legal complexities and also add to the compliance and administrative burdens for owners and occupiers. These market impacts are examined by Jerry Percy of Gleeds.