Energy Certificates in Schools

Non-domestic buildings currently account for nearly 25 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions and the way in which we light, heat and use buildings all contribute to this. Even small improvements to the energy performance and the way we use our buildings can have a significant effect on carbon emissions. The European Union wants to save 20 per cent of its overall energy requirements by 2020 and one of its key pieces of legislation to deliver this is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

This Directive requires Member States to implement the EPBD into their national legislation, including requirements to revisions of building regulations at regular intervals. The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for every new building and every existing building requires every building larger than 1000m2 to install the latest energy saving products when undergoing major refurbishments.   In the UK, we have already seen the effects of this European legislation through, for example, changes to Part L in England & Wales and the introduction of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Energy Performance Certificates were originally intended for the regulation of domestic buildings. They are now required by law for any domestic and non-domestic building being bought, sold or rented.   In addition to the domestic regulations, from April 2008 properties that were exempt from a domestic EPC required a non-dwelling EPC, including commercial and public sector buildings. EPCs were introduced to try and counteract this trend, initially covering schools, hospitals, libraries, and other public sector buildings, but soon extending to all buildings visited by the public, such as retail, and eventually to buildings with a minimum of 500m2 of usable floor space.

Recent figures from the government have shown that more than half of new schools requiring an EPC are achieving band D or below, a frightening figure for government CO2 targets. By the end of 2008, 28 secondary schools and 64 primary schools had EPCs and only three had achieved an A rating, with a further 29 reaching a B rating. Secondary schools generally achieved better EPCs than primary schools, with 61 per cent achieving bands A to C, compared with 25 per cent for primary schools. 16 of the 28 secondary schools achieved band A or B but only 16 of the 64 primary schools.

However, EPCs look set to be beneficial in the long run. The cost of renovating a building to meet the new regulations as well as the survey required to obtain an EPC can seem daunting, so it is crucial for local authorities and the government to understand the long-term benefits. Although the implementation of energy saving products may at first prove costly, the long-term savings on energy and therefore fuel bills will make the investment in high-quality products worthwhile. With cost-cutting on the agenda for all refurbishments and new builds, especially in the public sector, this is an important issue.


The cladding of a building is one of the key factors in adhering to this regulation. Cladding was used at the Boldon School in Boldon, Tyneside, due to the need for increased levels of thermal insulation combined with meeting the insurer's requirements.


This is a good example of where a high EPC rating is important. Not only is it a public sector building which requires an efficient construction, it houses a swimming pool which increases the amount of energy used to heat the building. Energy efficiency is therefore a key priority, in order to save money for the school in the future. Eurobond's Europanel product was employed to provide a thick panelling solution, with the panel's Rockwool composite core and structural integrity providing a strong, reliable, thermally efficient seal for the building.


Europanel has been engineered to help fulfil the energy performance and air leakage requirements of the envelopes of modern buildings. It has also been tested to perform in line with the EPBD 2003. Europanel's panel details have been thermally modelled using BRE approved software and can be manufactured to achieve the required energy performance with panel thicknesses between 75mm and 200mm.


Eurobond is one manufacturer taking the issue of the environment and EPCs very seriously. All of their composite panels are thermally efficient and they have gone to great lengths to ensure that they reach the highest levels of performance whilst retaining all of their other respective features, such as fire protection and sustainability. Subsequently all developments that utilise their products have an added energy efficiency boost when it comes to achieving a high EPC rating.


It is this focus on the environment that has positioned Eurobond as the leader in composite panelling solutions. EPCs are a legal requirement for all public sector builds, and so the specification and use of products that help a building reach this status is crucial.


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