EPC data access to be given to Energy Saving Trust EST

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is close to be given access to the data gathered from Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and this was recently outlined in the summary of responses to ‘The Next Steps: EPCs and the establishment of the Green Homes Service consultation.’

On 23 June 2008 the Government published a consultation on the following issues:

  • To give the Energy Saving Trust (EST) access to the information contained in domestic EPCs so that they can identify F and G rated homes and target them with an offer of advice and help
  • To give the Carbon Trust access to the information contained in non-domestic EPCs
  • To allow energy assessors to search the register by address as well as by UPRN
  • To allow public access to the non-domestic register in order to see whether a building has an EPC, but not to download or access the EPC.

The full Government’s response can be viewed here.

67 % of those involved in the consultation agreed that full or in part access should be given, with only 13% against the proposal, 20% had no comment.

It is slightly disappointing that 20% of those involved had no comment on the proposals and does raise questions on their suitability of being involved or whether their questions and points raised on certain aspects were answered to make an informed decision.

As would be expected, the main fear was of this data being passed on to third parties such as insulation companies who could use it commercially, to specifically target households.

It has been stated that ‘data will be supplied to the EST under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding, and any breach will lead to immediate withdrawal of access.’

For the time being there is no agreement on the Carbon trust being allowed access to the data for commercial EPCs, with issues of how they will use the information being raised. Other organisations have also indicate an interest in this information with the government pledging to develop and exploring more specific proposals in the spring.

Domestic energy assessors (DEA) have very little ability to check for EPCs lodged at present. It is possible that an EPC has been carried out on a property but the individual assessor could be completely unaware of this. This means a new EPC could be carried out when there was an exisiting one which could of met the home owners or landlords legal obligation under the EPBD legislation.

Allowing accredited assessors the ability to search the Governments database by address would certainly give benefits in this regard. However, this proposal could give rise to a small number of individuals abusing this access. A monitored system needs to be put in place where the number of enquiries made against the EPC databse can easily be seen and potential abuse of the system identified.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an important document and the database provides a great resource in regard to formulating and tracking the energy efficiency of the nation’s building stock. This data offers great potential for strategies to put in place to help those in greatest need.

However, it is also a valuable resource to those commercially active in this field so safeguards must be put in place to ensure this information can not be used for commercial gain. There has been recent concerns within the industry of a similar nature, where a conflict of interest could possibly be seen or perceived which we will hopefully be updating our readers on shortly.

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