The significance of obtaining an EPC for a ‘place of instruction’

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The December 2022 deadline for compliance with energy performance certification regulations is just four months away. According to the regulations for the ‘mandatory display and submission of energy performance certificates for buildings’ (gazetted in December 2020), ‘places of instruction’ is one of the building occupancy classes that need to obtain and display an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). A ‘place of instruction’ can be a university building, a Technicon building, a college building, or a school building. In short, a ‘place of instruction’ is any building where people receive tuition.

‘Places of instruction’ must therefore take the necessary steps to ensure that they obtain certification to be compliant with the regulations. Non-compliance is a real risk, as this would be a contravention of the National Energy Act which carries the possibility of significant financial penalties and potential imprisonment.

The energy performance of a building must be calculated using the measured energy consumption of that specific building. For most schools, this presents a challenge, as individual school buildings are seldom metered. Yes, most schools will have municipal bills that represent the total electrical energy consumption of the school property, but an EPC applies to buildings and the measured energy consumption of a building is needed for an EPC. Without metering, it is virtually impossible to determine this as required by the relevant EPC standard (SANS 1544:2014).

The RMS EPC Inspection Body recommends that ‘places of instruction’ take the following steps to ensure their compliance with the regulations:

  1. As the first step, it is recommended to contract the services of a SANAS accredited EPC Inspection Body. A list of such inspection bodies can be found on the SANAS website, as well as on the SANEDI website.
  2. The EPC Inspection Body can assist you to identify which of your buildings meet the requirements for the display of an EPC. In our experience, we have found that this can be anything from zero buildings up to about four buildings for a typical school. For other ‘places of instruction’ there could be many more buildings, for example universities can have more than 30 buildings that need certification.
  3. If there is no measured consumption data available for these buildings, the institution must install meters in those buildings as a priority. There might be concerns regarding the cost of these installations, especially when many buildings at an institution are affected, and rightfully so. But without the mandated measured consumption data any efforts at energy performance certification and subsequent energy consumption management are moot.
  4. Then, in addition to the metered consumption data, there is also other information that the EPC Inspection Body will be needing to certify a building. The Inspection Body can provide advice on what information is needed and the gathering of this information should receive urgent attention.

With the deadline fast approaching, it would be advisable for the institution to inform SANEDI (South African National Energy Development Institute) in writing of the measures that the institution is taking (or has taken) to comply with the regulations (albeit after the deadline) and provide the estimated date of compliance.

As a reminder, all the relevant occupancy classes for an EPC are:

  • A1 – Entertainment and public assembly (Occupancy where persons gather to eat, drink, dance or participate in other recreation);
  • A2 – Theatrical and indoor sport (Occupancy where persons gather for the viewing of theatrical, operatic, orchestral, choral, cinematographical or sport performances);
  • A3 – Places of instruction (Occupancy where school children assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning or occupancy other than primary or secondary schools, where students or other persons assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning.);
  • 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 or stand-alone blocks and / or campus of buildings that form an office park but operate separately. ).

Contact Remote Metering Solutions (RMS), an innovator in the utility management sector, to find out if your facility requires an EPC and how to ensure compliance with the regulations.

RMS is a SANAS accredited EPC Inspection Body. We have certified the energy performance of buildings throughout South Africa and our team is ready to assist any property owner who wants to be compliant with the regulations.