The big reveal

Disclosure of energy performance is coming. Julie Godefroy says now is the time to get ahead of the curve and contribute to CIBSE energy benchmarks and showcase developments and existing buildings

CIBSE has long advocated for monitoring and disclosure of energy performance, and last year signed a joint industry call1 asking for regulations of this issue. CIBSE itself has, for a number of years, had a voluntary Display Energy Certificate (DEC) in its own headquarters in Balham, London.

Government is expected to take an important step in the near future, with a consultation introducing mandatory operational energy ratings for non-domestic buildings (currently DECs are only required for public buildings).

CIBSE members can get ahead of the curve, demonstrate the industry is ready for energy performance disclosure, and contribute their data to showcase their performance and help define best practice.

In 2019, the CIBSE benchmarks were significantly upgraded, moving to an online platform2 and now presented as curves showing the distribution of energy consumption per building type, rather than only providing ‘typical’ and ‘good’ practice benchmarks.

Moving online offers significant opportunities and CIBSE has plans  for further developments: one is the creation of new benchmark categories (for example, homes). Another is that, in the future, organisations will be able to feed data, either to create a new benchmark category relevant to their organisation, or to contribute to the overall distribution curve for existing benchmark category.

There will also be the potential to showcase projects or portfolios within the overall spread of buildings.

Improving our existing stock is a huge part of achieving the UK’s net-zero carbon target, and the Committee on Climate Change has highlighted that the government’s plans need serious ramping up

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more and would be interested to contribute in-use energy consumption data.  This could include projects you have been involved with, or your organisation’s own offices, and the data could be used anonymously or not.

CIBSE is interested in all types of buildings as more data will add to the robustness of the benchmarks; we are also keen to showcase low-energy consumption buildings, in order to ‘stretch’ the current distribution curves towards the best-performance end.

These best-practice examples can then be put in the context of industry targets such as the RIBA 2030 Challenge or London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI).

Your contribution will help the work of CIBSE and others to define best-practice energy use and support the transition to net-zero carbon. It will also help you assess your building’s performance against the stock, identify what your potential performance could be, and prepare for future energy disclosure requirements.

Current consultation: EPC C-rated homes by 2030

Government has an ambition for most homes to achieve Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of at least C by 2030, and it is consulting on how to achieve this in the private rented sector in England and Wales.

Improving our existing stock is a huge part of achieving the UK’s net-zero carbon target, and the Committee on Climate Change has highlighted that the government’s plans need serious ramping up.

This consultation is therefore really important to put the domestic stock on track for net zero carbon. CIBSE would welcome views to inform our response – if you would like to contribute, please send your thoughts and evidence by 4 December 2020.

Obviously, a related issue is whether EPCs are the right way to improve the energy and carbon performance of buildings. Government ran a large call for evidence on this in 2018, and it has now published a summary of the contributions it received, and its proposed action plan in response to it. This should be considered when responding to the consultation.

Consultation on EPCs in the private rented sector is available here.

Previous call for evidence on EPCs, and government’s proposed action plan.

Other consultations and policy activity expected this autumn/winter

  • A number of follow-up consultations on reforms to  the planning system, following the consultation on the Planning White Paper, including: the Environment Bill, which would require biodiversity net gains in most development; revising the National Planning Policy Framework; the National Model Design Code; and changes to the system of environmental impact assessments
  • MHCLG response to the Part L 2020 and Future Homes Standard consultation, hopefully accompanied by revised proposals and by proposals for non- domestic and existing buildings.
  • Get in touch with to send comments or get involved in any of these topics.


  1. Joint Position on Measured Operational Building Performance, Building Performance Network website – accessed Nov 2020.
  2. CIBSE Energy Benchmarking Tool (Beta Version).
  • Dr Julie Godefroy is technical manager at CIBSE