Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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'Fridge ratings for Museums' - Government announces plans for new energy ratings for public buildings

'Fridge ratings for Museums' - Government announces plans for new energy ratings for public buildings

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (65) issued by The Government News Network on 29 March 2007

Public buildings like museums, galleries, government buildings and town halls must get energy ratings - like consumer friendly fridge ratings - and display them to the public from April 2008, the Government said today.

Visitors will be able to see the annual carbon emissions of each building. This measure is intended to encourage energy improvements to public buildings, help cut costs to the public purse and lead the way in cutting carbon emissions.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said:

"We must all work together to cut carbon emissions. More than 40% of carbon emissions in the UK come from buildings.

"From the local library to the House of Commons, the public sector must do its bit to cut carbon emissions.

"Often both those who use and those who operate public buildings have little idea how energy efficient they actually are, nor what could be done to improve them. From April next year, all public buildings will need to be energy rated so we can track progress in cutting carbon emissions and cutting fuel bills too."

The publication of regulations published today on the Energy Performance of Buildings paves the way for the introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) which include Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for homes. Final regulations to introduce HIPs were also published today.

From 1 October next year, privately renting tenants will get an EPC from their landlords.

EPCs must be provided as part of HIPs for all homes marketed for sale from 1 June. The certificates will help home buyers save an estimated £300 a year on their fuel bills if the recommendations are implemented.

The Government is also working to link EPCs with developing green mortgages and grants from utility companies in order to help homeowners who want to improve properties with a low EPC rating.

EPCs will include details from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) which can advise home buyers on grants of £200-£500 to help put in cavity wall insulation or other improvements.

The Energy Performance Certificate is the only 'new' measure in Home Information Packs, as the other items in the pack are already provided and paid for in the home buying and selling process.

New figures published today show there are now more than 3,000 energy assessors in training in addition to the 1,000 Home Inspectors already trained, ensuring the industry will be ready for smooth implementation of HIPs on 1 June.

The Government believes HIPs with EPCs will cut costs for consumers, both for their fuel bills and in buying and selling homes. Asda has already said its new estate agency service will provide EPCs and other HIP documents for free. Others have said they will only charge on a 'no sale no fee' basis. Among providers who will be charging, the market price of the EPC is currently £100, although we expect this to fall as competition heats up.

The HIPs regulations implement the measures set out earlier this year and provide for EPCs to be included alongside searches and other legal documents in HIPs from June 1. By providing the searches and legal documents at the beginning of the process HIPs will speed up the sale process, improve transparency and competition and create pressure to bring down the costs of buying and selling homes.

Currently there is little price competition around the transaction process. HIPs are bringing in greater competition and transparency to bring the price down. As the documents will need to be provided by sellers rather than buyers, they will also save first-time buyers several hundred pounds each.

Notes to Editors

1. By October 2008, all buildings that are constructed, sold or rented out will need to have an EPC, which will give an energy rating from A-G and recommendations on how to reduce carbon emissions. The changes are part of new regulations published today implementing the EU's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

2. They will apply to all buildings which are new, rented or sold as part of the Government's strategy for tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions. EPCs will apply as follows:

1 June 2007 - EPCs required for marketed sales of existing homes

1 October 2007 - EPCs required on construction of all new dwellings

1 January 2008 - Air conditioning inspections introduced

6 April 2008 - EPCs required for the sale or rent of non-dwellings of over 500 sqm

EPCs required for the construction of all non-dwellings and 'Display

EPCs' required for public buildings of over 1000 sqm

1 October 2008 - EPCs required for domestic rental properties and other non-marketed residential sales. EPCs required for the construction, rental or sale of all other non-dwellings.

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Factsheet on Home Information Packs

A Home Information Pack is a set of documents that provides buyers and sellers with all the information they need to know about a property upfront. Packs will include:

* An Energy Performance Certificate, the first document in the Pack, which will provide a rating on the energy efficiency of the home, plus advice on how to make energy savings

* Searches

* Other standard legal documents, such as title deeds and a sale statement

* Leasehold information (where appropriate)

* A voluntary Home Condition Report, which details the condition of the property

There are a number of reasons why Home Information Packs are being introduced on June 1.

* Reducing disappointments for sellers

Sellers will know that buyers are making informed decisions about properties, reducing the likelihood of surprises coming up later in the process and delaying the sale.

* Fewer nasty surprises for buyers

Buyers will have the information they need before deciding to buy a home. This means they're less likely to discover nasty surprises after a sale has been agreed.

* Sale success rates should improve

At the moment, around a quarter of property sales fail after terms have been agreed. HIPs should help to lower this figure.

* The cost of failed transactions should fall

Failed transactions currently cost consumers millions of pounds a week. HIPs should bring these costs down.

* Transactions should be completed faster

Under the current system, UK transactions take on average twice as long as European ones. HIPs should speed things up.

* The home buying process will be simpler for first-time buyers

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