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CIBSE backs air con inspection log

The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers is backing a Government consultation to make it mandatory to log all air conditioning inspections.

Mandatory inspections form part of Communities and Local Government consultation launched this month called Making Better Use of Energy Performance Certificates and Data which runs until 25 May.

There are currently no legal requirements for air conditioning reports to be lodged on a central register, although all must be lodged with the inspector’s accrediting body.

But CIBSE said this can cause some confusion, with some quite misleading claims that reports are not valid if they are not lodged.

As a result CIBSE is backing proposals for mandatory lodgement of air conditioning inspections which it said would bring increased clarity to the market place and ensure that all accredited energy assessors are on a level playing field.

CIBSE LCC Steering group chairman Bryan Franklin said: “Air conditioning inspections already have the lowest compliance rates, well below 5 per cent, and if these issues are not resolved, it is difficult to see how the industry can increase compliance and how the carbon emissions reductions expected from the introduction of air conditioning inspections can be delivered.”

Buildings currently account for 50 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, and air conditioning installations account for up to a third of energy consumed in buildings which have one installed.

Currently under the 2007 Energy Performance of the Buildings Directive owners/occupiers are required to

  • have had any new air conditioning installations or those above 250kW inspected by January 2009.
  • have any air conditioning installations above 12kW inspected by January 2011 and every five years thereafter.

Until a mandatory requirement is in place, accreditation schemes can choose whether or not to lodge their inspectors’ reports with Landmark.

This is creating confusion among assessors and is affecting clients - who are being encouraged to base the decision to use an energy assessor on lodgement preferences, rather than the quality of service offered by the assessor.

The purpose directive is to provide owners with information on the performance of their air conditioning so that they can improve them if they are using too much energy.

CIBSE said lodgement in a central register would provide trading standards officers with information on which buildings have not been inspected and could be the single most effective enforcement measure so far.

It would also enable benchmarking, encouraging owners to understand more about what should be expected from an efficient air conditioning system.

Air Conditioning Inspections are an effective way of identifying areas for improvement which can provide quick wins.

CIBSE itself is consulting members on whether they wish to start lodging with Landmark on a voluntary basis before any move to mandatory lodgement, ahead of its official response to CLG’s consultation.

The Government consultation asks three questions over the proposal to make it compulsory to lodge air conditioning inspections:

  • Do you agree that the 2007 Regulations should be amended to make it mandatory to lodge ACRs on the England and Wales non-domestic EPC register?
  • What information would you consider should be recorded on standardised ACRs?
  • Do you agree that the fee for lodging ACRs on the England and Wales non-domestic EPC register should remain the same as for lodging non-domestic EPCs? If not, how do you think the fee should be structured?

Responses should be sent to EPC.consultation@communities.gsi.gov.uk