DCLG releases energy performance of buildings data

Author: Luke Smith 31/03/2017

The Department for Communities and Local Government has recently launched a new way to access Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Display Energy Certificate (DEC) data for both domestic and non-domestic buildings in England and Wales. The Open Data service allows unprecedented insight into the nation’s building stock, allowing information on the energy use of buildings to be downloaded and analysed at a range of geographic levels.

Regulatory background

The requirement for domestic and non-domestic EPCs and DECs was introduced via the EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings in 2007. Apart from a handful of exempt buildings, such as listed properties, an EPC must be produced when a building is constructed, sold or let.

The requirement for larger buildings to have a DEC was introduced in 2008. The building must be at least partially occupied by a public authority (such as a council, college or NHS trust) and be frequently visited by the public. In 2008, the minimum floor space threshold was 1,000m² but this was reduced to 500m² in 2013 and to 250m² in 2015.

EPCs for domestic and non-domestic buildings are valid for 10 years, or until a newer EPC is produced. DECs for buildings over 1,000m² are valid for one year while those for buildings of 1,000m² or less are valid for 10 years.

Opportunities

To put the DCLG Open Data release in context, the bulk purchase of the full raw data behind EPCs previously came at a cost of £0.11 per property, thereby costing local authorities and housing associations responsible for large portfolios, thousands of pounds. From a national perspective, the English Housing Survey is based on a rotating sample of 6,000 property surveys each year. The EPC register contains 15.6 million records!

The sheer size of data provides opportunities for a wide range of interested stakeholders, with the National Energy Foundation strongly positioned to assist those who might benefit from an in-depth analysis of building stock. Organisations that might benefit include:

  • Local authorities interested in undertaking a cross-tenure study of the housing stock in their areas, with physical property attributes a strong indicator of property disrepair and fuel poverty. The EPC data could also be overlaid with additional datasets and can be extremely powerful in supporting the development of strategies and investment plan, or in the persuit of funding support such as ECO.
  • Housing associations that have tended to rely on limited EPC data and would benefit from an address matching exercise, linking the open EPC data to their assets.
  • Letting agencies and private housing providers that want to ensure that their properties meet regulatory requirements before the introduction of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
  • Local authorities and commercial property holders who have previoulsy had extremely limited data in relation to the profile and performance of their existing non-domestic stock.