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NEWS All the latest developments from around the building industry In Brief

SOLAR FEED-IN REVIEW ‘A RISK’ The success of commercial solar panel schemes is being put at risk by the government’s review of feed-in tariffs, according to the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA). The government reduced subsidies for solar arrays above 50kW – but the ECA says the limit should be 150kW to encourage community projects such as panels on schools and local authority buildings.

‘LOOK AND LEARN’ The government should learn some lessons from its involvement in the Private Finance Initiative programme, according to the National Audit Offi ce. Ministers should use better arrangements to ‘test, challenge and, if necessary, stop projects’, said the NAO.

GREEN LIGHT FOR PILOT Plans to build a £6m low-carbon pilot housing scheme have been given the go-ahead. The AIMC4 consortium will build 17 homes, each in a different location, as part of the trial. All of the homes, will be built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. See the Housing Special starting on page 32

Backing for DEC strategy

● Leading industry bodies say roll-out of certifi cates should not be voluntary

There is growing support for the roll-out of mandatory Display Energy Certifi cates (DECs) into the private sector. The UK Green Building Council and British Property Federation have added their names to an open letter – also signed by representatives of British Land, Land Securities and Hammerson among 19 other leading industry fi gures – encouraging the government to extend DECs to cover private properties. Currently DECs, which measure a building’s energy

effi ciency, apply only to public buildings. The bodies called for the government to enable the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament to be used to legislate for the roll-out of DECs The letter states: ‘Unfortunately, a voluntary

approach to take-up in the private sector will not work, because without that level playing fi eld there is a reputational risk for those businesses that voluntarily adopt certifi cation and achieve poor ratings. ‘Therefore, as representatives of the commercial property sector, we believe it is vital that government extends mandatory DECs to private sector buildings. We do not believe this will provide an undue burden on businesses of any size, as evidence demonstrates that savings resulting from the application of this scheme signifi cantly outweigh any costs, from year one. Indeed, DECs for small businesses could be automated and even provided free of charge, based on existing energy bills.’

Andy Ford, CIBSE president, says the sector needs to support the roll-out of DECs

Andy Ford, CIBSE president, said: ‘CIBSE

‘ A voluntary approach to take-up in the private sector will not work’

welcomes the support of leading players in the property sector for the further roll-out of DECs. ‘Those at the forefront of the property sector understand the need to manage and benchmark emissions from buildings. ‘But we need the whole sector, not

just the leading players, to do this – and CIBSE is committed to working with the sector to identify opportunities to improve energy performance of existing buildings. ‘DECs offer a cost-effective energy

management tool to motivate improvement and reduce energy costs to businesses.’ CIBSE has also completed an analysis of the fi rst

45,000 DECs, and in particular the benchmarks used to calculate the DEC ratings. The review found that the benchmarks are generally fi t for purpose and accurately refl ect the performance of the building stock (see page 28 of the May Journal).


CIBSE Journal June 2011

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