Accounting Officers and building owners in South Africa have only three weeks left to obtain and appropriately display Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) at the entrances of their buildings in compliance with Notice 700 of 2020 under the National Energy Act, 1998 (Act no 34 of 2008), or face penalties.The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), together with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), call on Accounting Officers and building owners to submit and display EPCs by 7 December 2022, or risk a fine of R5 million, five years imprisonment or both. Over 450 certificates have been issued to date, a fraction out of 250,000 to 350,000 buildings that still need to ensure they are compliant. The Regulations effectively make it a requirement for buildings under four categories to secure an EPC, which rates how energy efficient a building is and benchmarks the building’s performance against the National Building Regulations. Buildings that require the energy performance certification include entertainment and assembly, theatrical and indoor sport, places of instruction and offices. The criteria for compliance includes any building larger than 2,000 square metres for privately-owned buildings or 1,000 square metres if the building is state-owned. The building must also not have undergone any major renovations in the last two years. SANEDI, on behalf of the DMRE, facilitates The National Building Energy Performance Register, and is responsible for issuing unique EPC numbers to SANAS Accredited Inspection Bodies, who in turn issue EPCs.
The EPC regulations form part of the goals set out in the post-2015 National Energy Efficiency Strategy (NEES), which aims to get buildings to reduce energy consumption by 16% by 2030 and make building owners aware of their building’s consumption levels.“Improving the efficiency of buildings is becoming urgent, particularly because buildings alone contribute about 30% to 40% of the world’s carbon emissions,” Nqobile Ngcobo, EPC Lead at SANEDI, says. “Therefore, it is imperative that the government promotes energy efficiency and climate change consciousness through the measurement of buildings’ energy performance, which can then assist the building owner or Accounting Officer in implementing energy efficiency interventions,” Ngcobo says. The Regulations follow the launch of a programme spearheaded by the DMRE, the Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings and Infrastructure Programme (EEPBIP), which commenced in 2019 and endeavours to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by fostering energy efficiency transformation. Besides making Accounting Officers and building owners aware of energy consumption, the benefit seeks to translate into future energy cost savings and a reduced reliance on the national grid. According to the Regulation, an EPC must be both displayed at the entrance of a building and a certified copy of the EPC must be submitted by either the accounting officer or a building owner to SANEDI within 3 months from the date of issue. For EPCs submissions, please email EPCsubmission@sanedi.org.za