Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) can be a powerful market tool to create demand for more efficient homes and offices. But European countries are failing to make the most of them, according to a report published by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE).
The think-tank found that EPCs have the potential to be a key driver of energy efficiency of Europe’s building stock. Yet public acceptance and market uptake remain low in most EU member states.
The organisation said that data gaps, low reliability due to a lack of quality control and limited access to data were preventing member states from exploiting the full potential of the schemes.
BPIE examined EPC schemes and databases for residential and non-residential buildings across Europe and highlighted good practices to make EPC data reliable and accessible. For example, in Ireland and Hungary, plausibility checks are conducted on the EPC input data before the certificate is officially issued, guaranteeing quality and reliability.
The availability of objective information to help assess, compare and improve properties’ energy performance is needed if EPCs are to have a real impact on the housing market and convince builders and owners to invest in greater energy performance, both in new buildings and renovations, BPIE argued.
There is evidence to show that access to EPC data repositories has a positive impact on the market value of energy efficiency improvements, contributing to the market transformation envisaged when the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was drawn up.
The report concludes by saying that the role of EPCs needs to be strengthened in the national legislation of EU members, backed up by increased monitoring of EPC scheme compliance both at a national and European level.