Eight tips to prepare for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

By Frikkie Malan, head of sustainability at Remote Metering Solutions

1. Understand which buildings need certificates
According to legislation enacted in December 2020, only certain buildings need to have EPCs by December 2022.

These are buildings classified as offices, places of entertainment and public assembly, theatrical and indoor sport, and places of instruction. Within these categories, it is noteworthy that buildings owned, operated, or occupied by an organ of state greater than 1000m² require a certificate where other buildings only require a certificate where the floor area is greater than 2000m². For now, the likes of retail properties, factories, hospitals, private homes, or other residential buildings, do not need an EPC.

Where a building has mixed occupancy, the relevant standards make provision for how such buildings should be treated.

2. Get your information ready
To get your certification done quickly and at a reasonable cost, property owners should prepare the following information/data for the EPC inspection body:

-A list of all energy carriers (sources of energy) used in a building, and
-Energy consumption data for the twelve-month period of assessment.

Consumption data can include metering data e.g., metering data for your bulk electricity supply, and for the energy produced by a solar PV plant should you have one. You can also provide supplier invoices that show how much gas or diesel was consumed in the building.

Other information that is needed includes the occupancy schedule for the twelve-month assessment period and up-to-date building floor plans.

3. Identify a company representative
The inspection body requires a single point of contact representing the client. This is the nominated representative (NR) who, as the authorised representative of the client, shall have the authority and responsibility for all matters relating to certification and for maintaining the link and all communication between the client and the inspection body.

4. Inform building/facility managers
The inspection body will verify whether information/data pertaining to a building is complete and valid by performing a physical building inspection. You must advise relevant staff members of expected building inspections.

5. Get a copy of the SANS 1544
Understanding the rules is advantageous when you want to comply with legislation. Consider purchasing a copy of the EPC standard (SANS 1544) as well as SANS 10400-XA from SANAS on their Web site www.sanas.org.za.

Of course, you must also read the government gazette notice in terms of which EPCs were legislated in December 2020: https://archive.opengazettes.org.za/archive/ZA/2020/government-gazette-ZA-vol-666-no-43972-dated-2020-12-08.pdf

6. Allocate budget
Securing an EPC will come at a cost, and it is prudent to allocate sufficient budget for this. While no guidelines exist as to what an EPC should cost, it is possible to understand EPC pricing by speaking to one or more EPC service providers about this.

7. Short-list EPC inspection bodies
Only SANAS accredited EPC inspection bodies may issue an EPC. There are only a few such accredited bodies (at the time of writing, only one inspection body has been accredited, with a handful in the process of being accredited).

The accredited inspection bodies will be listed on the SANAS Web site. RMS is one of the few inspection bodies that is in the process of being accredited. While we cannot issue a certificate until we have our SANAS accreditation we can already advise you on the way forward.

8. Don’t wait too long
With the apparent shortage of accredited inspection bodies and the deadline of December 2022 not that far off, property owners who want their portfolio of buildings certified by the deadline should start the process as soon as possible. Critical steps are:

-Allocate sufficient budget for your EPC certification;
-Start collecting the information needed by the EPC inspection body; and

Identify your preferred EPC service provider (the EPC inspection body).

Image credit: Fré Sonneveld / Unsplash