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Energy Performance Certificate – Required for your building?

Maxine Smet

Introduction

Owners of non-residential properties in certain categories must obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) by no later than 7 December 2022 and display it at the entrance of their building.

Who must obtain the certificate

A Government Notice which was published in the Government Gazette in December 2020 will come into effect on 7 December 2022. In terms of this notice, owners of non-residential buildings that have a floor area of at least 2000 m2 and are used for any of the following purposes must obtain an EPC:

  • Entertainment and public assembly (such as bars and restaurants)
  • Theatre and indoor sport
  • Places of instruction (which includes places of worship)
  • Offices

The building must have been used as such for a period of 2 (two) years or longer and must not have been subject to major renovations within the past 2 (two) years of operation.

What the certificate entails

The EPC must reflect the “energy performance” of the building, expressed as the net energy consumed in kilowatt hours per square metre per year (kWh/m2/a).

Buildings will be rated on a scale from A to G, similar to the rating of household appliances such as fridges.

All major energy consuming systems such as ventilation, heating, cooling, lighting and hot water will be accounted for.  Energy consumed by garages, car parks, storage areas and outdoor services will be excluded.

The certificate will be valid for a period of maximum 5 (five) years from date of issue.

Where to obtain the certificate

The EPC must be obtained from an accredited body which is defined as “the body accredited by the South African National Accreditation System or by a member of the recognition arrangements of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation or the International Accreditation Forum”.

A certified copy of the EPC must be delivered to the South African National Energy Development Institute within 3 (three) calendar months of the date of issue thereof.

As mentioned, the EPC must be displayed at the entrance of the building.

Why is it important

The new regulations for the mandatory display and submission of an EPC were enacted under the National Energy Act No. 34 of 1998 (“the Act”). Failure to adhere to the regulations is a contravention of the Act and an offence.

Owners of properties who are required to obtain an EPC, but fail to do so and/or do not publicly display it before 7 December 2022 can be fined up to R 5 000 000,00 (Five Million Rand), or be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 (five) years, or both.

Compliance with the regulations will be monitored by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy or an appointed representative.

Prospective purchasers will probably request an EPC when purchasing non-residential buildings to establish the building’s energy performance.  Many European countries already require an EPC for the sale or rental of properties as per the European Union’s legislative framework which includes the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/31/EU and the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU.

Conclusion

It is important for property owners to ascertain for which buildings an EPC is required, what exactly it entails; and how to obtain it. This must be done before 7 December 2022, to avoid any penalties.

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