VolDECs – Voluntary Display Energy Certificates

VolDECs – Voluntary Display Energy Certificates

Voluntary Display Energy Certificates (VolDECs) are a new and innovative voluntary operational energy rating scheme designed for commercial office buildings. They have been developed by a partnership between the National Energy Foundation and Phil Jones of Building Energy Solutions. This not-for-profit scheme has been funded and piloted by Legal & General. VolDECs are based on relatively simple data, making them inexpensive and quick to produce.

Background to VolDECs

Many commercial office buildings don't have an appropriate means of measuring and highlighting energy performance in a relatively simple and consistent way.

In particular, there are issues associated with the landlord and tenant energy split and the lack of relevant benchmarks to enable performance to be measured and compared sensibly and consistently.

The new approach pioneered by VolDECs can separate tenant energy use from that of the landlord, thereby helping to provide property owners and operators with cost-effective, user-friendly energy ratings for areas of a building that are within their control to manage and improve.




Rationale for VolDECs

VolDECs are in response to an industry need for a voluntary approach to:

  • Highlight building energy performance.
  • Provide a clear driver for improving performance.
  • Give reputational and financial value to energy performance.
  • Provide a simple soft-start, leading building operators towards more sophisticated benchmarking.
  • Encourage greater retrofitting, resulting in better buildings, economic activity and jobs.
  • Establish a consistent methodology and quality assurance across the industry.
  • Support the development of improved and relevant building energy benchmarks.

VolDECs use the same methodology as statutory DECs and provide a similar certificate layout with an A-G scale, but that’s where the similarity ends. They are based on relatively simple data, making them inexpensive and quick to produce.

Separating out tenant energy outputs from those produced by the common parts of a building, the aim is to provide property owners and operators with cost-effective, user-friendly energy ratings for just those areas of an asset that are within their control to improve.

The scale has been extended to include G1 to G4 ratings, providing low-ranking buildings with a more defined rating in order to encourage improvement, as well as U (Unclassified) rating for buildings where performance or data is exceptionally poor. VolDECs also include a certificate quality rating: High, Medium and Low, to encourage improvements in data quality.

Phase one of the project is focused on the office sector and has already been successfully tested on 16 of Legal & General’s major, multi-tenanted office properties.

Phase two will include working with other forward-thinking partners to expand the sample of offices and to extend the scheme to other asset classes such as shopping centres and retail parks. VolDEC is a not-for-profit scheme for the wider benefit and we hope to gain the backing of the whole industry using sector-specific benchmarks.

Aims of VolDECs

The key aims are to:

  • Highlight building energy performance.
  • Encourage improvement.
  • Conduct research to gradually improve our benchmarks.

Please visit the VolDEC website for more information.