New guidance released on bridging the energy performance gap in buildings

A new report produced by the BRE Trust and the Energy Services and Technology Association aims to help facilities managers and building operators bridge the energy performance gap in their building portfolio, so consumption and costs can be reduced for business benefit.

Director of ESTA, Robin Hale says ‘Buildings rarely perform as well as their designers predicted – energy consumption and costs can be as much as double what was expected with damaging financial implications for occupant organisations. This ‘performance gap’ and how we tackle it is one of the most critical challenges faced by the built environment sector. As well as outlining the issues, this report shows how a freely available tool can be used to find the solutions.’ 

Currently, operators of commercial and public sector buildings have two indicators of a buildings energy performance available to them. The first is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating which is a theoretical assessment of a buildings energy needs in optimum conditions. The second is a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) which is based on actual energy consumption. The DEC is almost always higher due to occupant behaviour, non-standard hours of operation, and unregulated loads such as IT and office equipment.

In the report – Bridging the performance gap – understanding predicted and actual building operational energy (IP 1/15 – author Andy Lewry explains how the UK Government’s Green Deal Assessment tool  – GD-SBEM – can be used to reconcile the differences between the two sets of information. ‘By inputting both theoretical and actual consumption data, GD-SBEM can help building operators really understand the energy use in a building, highlighting where improvements can be made and the costs and related payback periods of investment. The tool can also help larger organisations report against the requirements of the UK government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

Accompanying the report is a sister publication: Producing the business case for investment in energy efficiency (IP2/15). This offers practical guidance to building operators on how to make a sound financial case for investing in energy efficiency improvements that will bridge the energy performance gap.

‘One of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of energy efficiency measures in an organisation is a poor business case’ says author Lewry, ‘typically you have a three minute window of time in which to make a compelling pitch. Critical to your success are clear and concise metrics that address the consequences of a do-nothing strategy and messaging that appeal to a non-technical, financially driven audience. This guide shows you how to get it right.’

Robin Hale said ‘Both reports are issued at a critical time as the sector gets to grips with the introduction of ESOS, the government’s mandatory energy assessment and energy saving identification scheme for large organisations and the EU’s energy performance of buildings directive which will make it illegal to rent a building that is energy inefficient by 2018.’

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