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SDiG targets for Government Estate

by Mel Starrs on November 2, 2010

in Accreditation, Funding & Targets, BREEAM

This caught my eye a few weeks ago via the Less-En blog:

Going forwards, the government has stated that they will not occupy any new accommodation with an EPC rating below C, regardless of whether it is newly developed or an existing building. Interestingly, many new buildings which have already achieved planning permission have an estimated EPC rating below C; so over the next few years, there will be a potential disconnect with the changing market requirements.

Nick Offer of Arup Associates

I tracked down the new SDiG targets. The point in question:

In support of these targets ‘Departments’ should:

… Only procure buildings in the top quartile of energy performance;

Note that they don’t mention BREEAM anymore! So when SOGE expires in 2010/11, it looks like BREEAM might not be mandatory anymore on government buildings. Can anyone confirm or deny?

It is also not clear if top quartile refers to EPC or DEC. Nick Offer seems to have interpreted it as EPC, but equally (and perhaps more practically) it could be interpreted as DEC, as DEC is actual performance rather than the more theoretical EPC. Of course, procuring new buildings will require an EPC in the top quartile, but on existing buildings it makes more sense to use DEC.

  • http://twitter.com/aaAdamEvans Adam Evans

    Mel,
    I have recently had to look at this for one of our clients, who have been assessing their sustainability goals in light of the CSR. From what I identified you are absolutely right that BREEAM isn’t in SDIG, but you will still find it as a requirement in OGC Achieving Excellence in Construction – Common Minimum Standards (http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/Common_Minimum_Standards_PDF.pdf) . This is from 2006, but I believe its still relevant. The standards are excellent for New Build and very good for refurbishment, BUT there is a “value for money” test associated with it. There is also also OGC guidance on this (http://www.ogc.gov.uk/documents/tq_Guidance_2010.pdf).

    P.S really enjoying the blog and tweets.

    Adam Evans

  • http://twitter.com/melstarrs mel starrs

    Adam

    Thanks for these links. Looks like BREEAM remains and EPC rather than DEC is what counts. From the report, EPC needs to be 68 or less in 2010 to be compliant. The quartile level will change year on year. It does not apply to buildings already leased/owned by government, nor to refurbishment if government leased/owned them prior to refurbishment.

    So probably won’t make too much impact for the next couple of years – not too many new buildings being commissioned!

    Of course, if the building is a BREEAM Excellent under 2008, it will have an EPC of 40 anyway, which is better then 68. Another case of conflicting and overlapping standards.

  • http://twitter.com/linniR Linn Rafferty

    Glad to see it’s based on the EPC, not the DEC.

    After all, the DEC value reflects how the previous occupier used the building. If Government departments were required to only procure buildings that had previously been well managed (i.e. they have a good DEC rating), what guarantee would we have that they (as the new occupier) would continue to manage them well? None at all.

    At least, by requiring them to procure reasonably good EPC rated buildings, i.e. 68 or less, the effect of poor building management will be lessened.

  • http://twitter.com/aaAdamEvans Adam Evans

    Mel,

    Further to your post, it does appear that SDiG has been abandoned (albeit quietly). Have you heard anything about this? http://sd.defra.gov.uk/2010/11/action-plan-for-green-government/

  • http://twitter.com/melstarrs mel starrs

    I’m keeping an eye out for the new standards, due out this month. Thanks for the alert!