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Only 12% of buildings have energy certificate
(11th March 2016)

Only 12 per cent of buildings that are required by EU regulations to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) have been certified to date, according to official figures.


An infrastructure ministry spokeswoman told the Times of Malta that only 10,586 properties have been certified to date, out of approximately 85,000 that must be certified to cover the period of 2009 to 2015, in line with an EU directive first issued in 2010.


The figure nevertheless represents a significant improvement over previous years: just 139 certificates were issued in 2013, rising to 1,420 in 2014.


The EPC provides information on the energy efficiency of a building through a colour-coded rank, similar to the energy label on domestic appliances such as refrigerators.


By law, anyone selling, constructing or renting a building is obliged to present an EPC – which remains valid for 10 years – during the period of promise of sale or rental agreement or on the contract date.


The owner of the building may be fined between €500 and €5,000 if an EPC is not presented within 60 days of a request being made by the Building Regulation Office (BRO), the responsible authority within the Infrastructure Ministry.


Moreover, Mepa will not issue a building permit unless it is accompanied by a design rating application and the Inland Revenue Department actively reminds buyers about the need for such certification with every promise of sale.


According to the Infrastructure Ministry, there are currently 165 independent assessors qualified to provide the necessary certification, a figure which BRO head Michael Ferry said, in an interview with The Business Observer last year, was too few to cope with demand.


The ministry spokeswoman, however, insisted this week that the number of assessors was sufficient and that most EPCs were issued within two months.


Nevertheless, it is anticipated that new courses will be held in future to accommodate requests from eligible professionals to attain registration. One registered assessor who spoke to this newspaper said that assessments typically focused mainly on building materials and insulation, as well as aperture glazing. When called in for an assessment while a building is being designed, assessors provide a series of recommendations for improving the building’s energy rating. Presently, the building’s owners are not obliged to implement these regulations, but forthcoming EU legislation may make them binding.


The rates charged by assessors are not set by law but tend to be around €90 to €150 for an average home, on top of a €75 registration fee imposed by the BRO.


According to EU figures, buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of energy consumption and 36 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, it is estimated that total EU energy consumption could be reduced by up to six per cent, and carbon dioxide emissions by about five per cent.



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