The Energy performance certificate (EPC), an integral part of The Directive on the energy performance of buildings (the Directive 2010/31/EU; EPBD) is a European instrument used for the promotion of energy efficiency. The main aim of the EPC is to serve as an information tool for building owners, buyers and tenants on energy efficiency of buildings, expected energy costs as well as possible investments into potential energetic upgrades.
The EPBD has been transposed into the Slovenian legal order by way of the Building Construction Act, the Environmental Protection Act, an amendment of the Energy Act and relating regulations.
According to the Energy Act, an EPC has the status of a public document, meaning it can only be issued by authorised organisations and elaborated by licensed experts. According to the information provided by the Directorate for Energy of the Ministry of infrastructure, which is responsible for licensing of persons who are authorized to produce EPC cards, until December 2014, 268 licences to independent experts were issued. The independent expert’s responsibility is to inspect each building in the process of an energy performance certification, which is concluded with the issuance of an EPC and an entry into a register. The list of licensed independent experts has been made publicly available and is updated by the Directorate of Energy on a regular basis.
Despite setting up a central/regional EPC register not being compulsory under EU law, Slovenia has, much like the majority EU Member States, set up the Register of energy performance certificates, which is maintained by the Directorate of Energy.
Slovenian Rules on the methodology for production and issuance of energy performance certificates for buildings provides for two types of EPCs. A Calculating EPC that may be issued for each building (it is mandatory for residential and new buildings). The second type is the Measured EPC, which may be issued for existing non-residential buildings or non-residential parts of buildings.
An EPC may be issued either for a building as a whole or for part thereof (either a flat or a non-residential part of a building). An EPC for a part of a building can only be issued only when floor ownership is being established and an individual part of the building is being registered in the Land Registry.
The validity of the EPC is limited to 10 years. The building owner may request a new EPC prior to the expiry of the ten-year period in case of a changed energy performance of the building.
The Slovenian Energy Act and relating regulations prescribes that an EPC is mandatory for:
- Any property that is being put up for sale or rent (to a new tenant for a year or longer),
- For public buildings with an area of over 500m² (250m² from 9 July 2015),
- Newly built buildings (an EPC is obligatory for issuing an operating permit).
The law requires that an EPC has to be obtained prior to advertising the sale or rent of a building or a particular part of the building, therefore the owner of the property has to ensure that the advertising agency indicates the energy efficiency of a building or a particular part of the building in the advertisements with regard to said property.
An EPC is not mandatory for:
buildings declared as monuments in compliance with the regulations governing the cultural heritage protection provided that the fulfilment of energy efficiency requirements under the building construction regulations would bring about an unacceptable change to their nature or appearance;
- buildings used for religious rituals or religious activities;
- temporary buildings with the estimated time of use of two years or less, industrial buildings,
- workshops or non-residential agricultural buildings;
- residential buildings for the use of less than four months a year;
- Independent buildings or individual building parts with a usable surface area of less than 50m2,
- sale of a building in the course of enforcement or bankruptcy proceedings;
- sale or rent of the buildings passed into ownership of the Republic of Slovenia or a local community on the basis of a decision on succession,
- transfer of ownership by way of expropriation (when public interest is present).
The improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings is among the major objectives of EU’s energy and climate policy. For most of the EU Member States, the EPBD was the means of introducing new elements in their respective legal orders prior to which there were no energy performance requirements concerning neither buildings as wholes nor parts thereof. The Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD) and the minimum requirements standards imposed by EPBD are facilitating a much better understanding of energy indicators of buildings and are going to have a strong impact on the construction industry as a whole as well as energy savings stemming from higher overall levels of energy efficiency in the near future.
By Masa Drkusic, Associate, ODI Law Firm