A recipe sans ingredients

By Praveen Madimetla
Published: Saturday 28 February 2009

EU's seven-year-old plan of rating homes green makes little progress

BUILDINGS in EU, as per a directive by the European Commission, were supposed to undergo energy rating from January 2009. The rating would show how energy efficient a house is and how much it will cost to light and heat it. But that has not happened. The basics of the directive are not in place: there are not enough assessors to determine how energy efficient is a building. Countries now are trying to put in place the basic systems to implement the directive.

Buildings account for about 40 per cent of the energy consumed in Europe. To bring this down and meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment, the EU adopted a directive on energy efficiency of buildings in 2002. The European Commission had asked countries to put into force laws and administrative provisions by 2006.

The directive, called the Energy Performance Building Directive, requires buildings more than 100 sq m, to undergo the energy rating. Without the certification, property cannot be sold or put on rent, says the directive mandated by the Directorate-General of Energy and Transport of the European Commission.

According to the commission, the biggest challenge was to find assessors. Germany now has established that any professional with degree in architecture or engineering or experience in energy consulting can register as an assessor. In Scotland, all commercial properties over 50 sq m are legally required to have an energy performance certificate when sold, rented out, modified or constructed. Failure to comply attracts penalty up to 12.5 per cent of the building's value.

The building industry is sceptical because the certification will add to the costs and obtaining them may be time consuming. A report in February 2008 prepared by a European real estate firm said 9.6 million sq m of new constructions in Europe would be affected by this regulation.

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