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Views sought on sharing Energy Performance Certificate data

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 25-Jun-08 02:45:35 PM

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has today published a consultation document seeking views on making the data contained within Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) available to third parties.

The proposals (and parties) listed include:

  • giving the Energy Saving Trust (EST) access to the information contained in domestic EPCs as part of implementing the Green Homes Service
  • giving the Carbon Trust access to the information contained in non-domestic EPCs
  • allowing energy assessors to search the domestic register by address as well as by reference number
  • allowing search of the commercial register by address to know whether a given building has an EPC, though not to download it

The Green Homes Service

Back in November 2007, Government announced the Green Homes Service (GHS). The service - run by the Energy Savings Trust (EST) - aims to contact households with EPC ratings of G and F and point 'them towards the help available in their area.'

Having already announced the GHS - and its modus operandi - it is somewhat curious why the DCLG now seeks opinions on handing over the EPC data the service will need to operate.

The document proposes 'strict safeguards' to the sharing of data, including:

  1. access will be given on condition that identifiable data in relation to the home is not made available to any other party.
  2. use of the data will be in a form which ensures anonymity to anyone other than the owner of the property.
  3. Similarly, anonymous EPC data will also be entered into the existing Home Energy Efficiency Database (HEED) which tracks the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock

Non-domestic data-sharing with the Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is to the non-domestic and voluntary building sector, what the EST is to the domestic sector. Therefore, the same proposals (above) apply for the Carbon Trust too.

Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) - search register by address and UPRN

The DCLG wants to allow DEAs to search by address details in addition to the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). This is to allow previous EPCs to be retrieved in cases where the UPRN is not known or lost. Currently, a new EPC must be undertaken if this occurs.

But again, I'm somewhat at a loss to discern why the 'strict safeguards' being proposed for this measure include a check against the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), and that DEAs must belong to an accreditation scheme, when this is already the case.

I think they must mean that DEAs will be required to login to the HCRRegister to conduct this extended search.

Access to commercial EPCs

Finally, the DCLG also wants to allow both prospective tenants and buyers of commercial properties to search the register by address too. This search would reveal only whether a building has an EPC, though, not the contents within. Having verified its existence, prospective buyers and tenants can then make a written request to view it (from the landlord/seller).

Because the most recent EPC supercedes the previous, landlords may unwittingly present an out-of-date certificate to new buyers/tenants. It is hoped, therefore, that this provision may also help in cases where an existing tenant commissions an EPC without informing the landlord (who might already have one).

The questions

So the consultation wants to know:

  • What are your views on these proposals?
  • Do you think the safeguards proposed on access to the registers are sufficient?
  • If you do not think the safeguards are sufficient what are the reasons for your opinion, and are there other safeguards that you can suggest to meet your concerns?

I like the last question - it is basically saying: we are going to implement this anyway, so it's just a matter of how, not if.

Consultation document: The Next Steps: EPCs and the establishment of the Green Homes Service (pdf)

The consultation ends 1st September 2008.

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