The International Energy Agency is currently continuing the implementation of EU legislation in the field of energy efficiency as our top-priority obligations to the European Union. In particular, the Law of Ukraine “On energy efficiency of buildings” (hereinafter – the Law) was adopted on June 26, 2017 and entered into force on July 23, 2018. The Law draws special attention to the instrument of the energy certificate of buildings.
The said certificate is commonly used in other European countries, and serves as one of the incentives for increasing the energy efficiency of buildings. The certification of buildings has shown itself to be reasonable and is successfully working in the European Union. Among the EU countries in which they are used are Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. In Ukraine, it is now proposed to conduct energy audits of buildings, the results of which have to be enshrined in the energy certificates of a building. The energy certificate of a building is a document that contains general information about the building, its correspondence to the minimum requirements, and class of energy efficiency as well as the recommendations for increasing it, if needed.
Having an energy certificate on the purchase or lease of premises is just as important as when we buy electronics and look through its energy efficiency class. Each time we choose an electric device in a store, we are interested in the amount of electricity it consumes, and, usually, we choose a device with energy consumption of class A. The same idea is applied in the sphere of real estate – the less energy is spent on housing, the less are the expenditures on communal services, the higher are chances to sell or lease the premises.
According to the Law, from July 1, 2019 the provisions shall be brought into action on mandatory energy efficiency certification for the following buildings:
1) construction objects (new construction, reconstruction, capital repair), which according to the class of consequences (liability) are objects with average (CC2) and significant (СС3) consequences, which are determined in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On the regulation of urban development activity”;
2) state-owned buildings with a heated area of more than 250 square meters, frequently visited premises, and in all premises where state authorities are located;
3) buildings with a heated area of more than 250 square meters, in all premises where municipal offices are located (in the case of the thermal modernization of such buildings);
4) buildings where thermal modernization is carried out, for which state support has been granted and which results in achieving a class of energy efficiency for the building not lower than the minimum requirements for the energy efficiency of the building.
In the case of the conclusion of contracts for the purchase, or lease of a building, either residential or non-residential premises, a seller or a lessor, at the request of a potential buyer or lessee, must provide information on the energy certificate of the building (in the event that certification of energy efficiency is required and\or conducted) or inform them if there is no such certificate.
The Law contains provisions concerning the obligation to locate the certificate data in an accessible place, conditions for the inspection of engineering systems, and conditions for state support for thermal modernization that will also be brought into effect from July 1, 2019.
The mandatory certification of buildings and minimum energy efficiency requirements shall not be applied to: 1) industrial and agricultural buildings, energy objects, transport, communications and defense objects, warehouses; 2) individual (farm) residential buildings, garden, country houses (except in cases where state support is obtained for the implementation of thermal modernization or the certification of such houses at the request of the owner); 3) buildings intended for religious worship and religious activities by religious organizations; 4) buildings that are objects of cultural heritage; 5) separate buildings with a heated area of less than 50 square meters. The full list of such objects is approved by Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 265 dated April 14, 2018 “On approving the list of buildings of industrial and agricultural purpose, objects of energy, transport, communication and defense, warehouses, which are not subject to minimum requirements for energy efficiency of buildings and which are not subject to certification of the energy efficiency of buildings.”
Also, no sanctions for the absence of energy certificates for anyone, except for developers, are provided for by the legislation. Moreover, even though the Law entered into force on July 23, 2018, in order for the Law to work in full, it is necessary to adopt a number of by-laws that are currently under development. For now, the Methodology for Determining the Energy Efficiency of Buildings is adopted by Order of Minregion No. 169 dated July 11, 2018, the Procedure for Independent Monitoring of Energy Certificates is adopted by Order of Minregion No. 276 dated Oct. 18, 2018, and the Procedure for Independent Monitoring of Reports On the Results of the Survey of Engineering Systems is adopted by Order of Minregion No. 274 dated Oct. 18, 2018. At the same time, the draft Methodology for calculating of minimum requirements has still not been adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers, and the relevant construction standard DBN B. 2.6. – 31:2016 “Thermal insulation of buildings” has not been brought into conformity with the legislation. Now, minimum requirements are calculated according to the previous figures and are to be revised.
Moreover, in practice, confusion between the energy certificate and the energy passport is being encountered. The problem is that when the Law was adopted, respective amendments to the city construction legislation, in particular concerning design documents, should have been made, i.e. energy passports should have been replaced with the energy certificate, which was not done. As a result, in the case, for example of a new construction, it is necessary to draw up the energy passport before the construction work is performed, while an energy certificate is issued after its completion. This procedure causes certain inconveniences.
But disregarding these small problems, we have almost formed procedure for energy certification of buildings. The main purpose is to make the certificate (or more precisely, the recommendations it contains) the ultimate guide as to how to conduct a complete thermal modernization of a building in order to save energy and pay less for utilities. But of course, the decision on whether to obtain an energy certificate is up to the owner of the premises.