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Call for Starmer to review Energy Performance Certificates

There’s a call from a prominent international building science service for the new Labour government to review the Energy Performance Certificates.

EPCs have long been at the centre of controversies, with the latest being consumer champions Which?. Last month the body hit out at EPCs and the assessors who write them, saying EPCs are riddled with inaccuracies and giving numerous examples of tests it gave specific certificates, inspections and assessors to prove the point. 

Now the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has called for the review as part of a plan for Sir Kier Starmer’s administration “to deliver transformational change in the built environment during its first 100 days in power.”

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BRE is calling for the new Labour Government to prioritise measures such as unlocking innovation in construction, improving the usability of Energy Performance Certificates, and the creation of a Decent Homes Standard for the Private Rented Sector in its first 100 days.

It claims these measures would kickstart a new phase of progress in meeting sustainability targets across the UK’s new and existing buildings, and help fulfil the Labour Party’s pledges to make Britain a clean energy superpower and bolster the standard of the UK’s homes.

And it says a fundamental commitment to developing and delivering improved building standards is required to place the UK on the trajectory to hit retrofitting and green building targets in 2030. 

Among BRE’s key recommendations are:

- An extension of building regulations to include embodied carbon, setting a timeline for its implementation across new and existing buildings;

- A commitment to decent, safe homes for all, with the publication of a Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector, backed by a full update to the scientific basis of the Housing Health and Safety System underpinning the standard;

- A consultation on changes to home Energy Performance Certificates should propose an update the headline measures on the certificate, using the powerful new Home Energy Model methodology to its full potential, and improving the assessment process;

- Support proactive councils and regions who want to go further and faster in sustainability standards for homes, while meeting local housing need and re-announced housing targets.

At the international level, BRE wants to ensure that British standards and certification services are recognised for their quality and rigour. Building on its role as a global net zero leader, the UK has an opportunity to place these tools at the forefront of trade negotiations, harnessing not only the opportunity to uplift international progress towards net zero, but bolster a growing export market and source of soft power.

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