By Rujeanne Swanepoel, Inspection Body Quality Manager at Remote Metering Solutions
With nine months remaining until the 7 December 2022 deadline for the mandatory display of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), building owners and property managers need to work fast to ensure they do not fall foul of the regulation. If not, they risk a fine of R5 million, five years imprisonment, or both.
EPCs apply to all privately-owned buildings in South Africa with a net floor area of more than 2 000m2 and buildings owned by an organ of state with a net floor area of more than 1 000m2 in the following occupancy classes:
A1 – Entertainment and public assembly: Occupancy where persons gather to eat, drink, dance, or participate in other recreation. Typical examples of this occupancy type are restaurants, nightclubs, sports pubs, and gyms.
A2 – Theatrical and indoor sport: Occupancy where persons gather for the viewing of theatrical, operatic, orchestral, choral, cinematographical, or sport performances. Typical examples include movie theatres and live theatres.
A3 – Places of instruction: Occupancy where school children assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning and occupancy other than primary or secondary schools where students or other persons assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning. This occupancy class would typically include schools, colleges, universities, and technikons.
G1 – Offices: Large multi-storey office buildings, banks, consulting rooms, and similar uses with lifts and energy consuming services that operate on a typical daytime occupancy and stand-alone blocks. This also includes a group of buildings that form a campus or office park but operate separately.
Matter of urgency
The draft regulations for the mandatory display and submission of EPCs were gazetted for public comment in July 2018. In 2015, the EPC standard (SANS 1544:2015) was published. Therefore, building managers and owners should not be surprised that the EPC regulations were implemented in December 2020 leaving them with two years to get everything sorted.
Of course, there are a host of things owners and property managers can do to improve the efficiency rating of the building. For instance, replacing the incandescent light bulbs with LED lighting, replacing geysers with heat pumps if they use hot water, optimising the setpoints of the air-conditioning system, insulating the building thoroughly, and encouraging the use of stairs to mitigate the use of elevators.
This is where the importance of having an accredited EPC inspection body to guide the property owner through the process becomes critical. Both the SANAS and SANEDI websites provide a list of possible service providers.
Regardless of the approach taken, those who have not yet started the process best begin soon or face significant penalties come December this year.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an invaluable decision-making tool that helps property owners make sound investment decisions to implement projects that will reduce the energy consumption of buildings and property portfolios.
Energy performance certification provides insight into the energy saving potential of a building. As South Africans, we know that utility costs are increasingly a driver of operating costs. Therefore, initiatives that reduce the energy consumption of a building will have a direct impact on operating costs.
EPCs will help to identify those buildings where the greatest potential for energy cost savings exists, and funds can be directed to harvest these opportunities.
An EPC shows the energy performance of a building as a rating from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G the least efficient rating.
For more information about EPCs and certification works, click here.