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Folders  |  Energy certification in Portugal imposes new rules
Energy certification in Portugal imposes new rules
Newaddress- Mediação Imobiliária. Lda
Energy certification in Portugal imposes new rules
Article 6 of Directive No. 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union, of 16 December 2006, on the energy performance of buildings, requires all European Union Member States to implement an energy certification system for all new buildings. The National System for Energy Certification and Indoor Air Quality in Buildings (ECS) transposes that Directive into national law, and establishes an energy certification model aiming, on the one hand, to ensure that at the end of the construction new buildings meet the legislation in force on energy efficiency and, on the other, to inform consumers about the thermal quality of buildings.

For new buildings, the new energy certification norms have been in force since last June. However, since 1 January 2009, they concern all buildings as a whole or parts of them which in the meantime will be transacted either through purchase, sale or renting.

Since then, owners wishing to transact their real estates have been confronted with many doubts regarding the fulfilment of these new rules. In an attempt to clarify and simplify this issue, we identified and contacted responsible entities and qualified experts, and we condensed their replies under the following topics:

- Buildings covered by the Energy Certification System
- Situations requiring the presentation of the Energy Certificate
- Entities participating in the Energy Certification process
- The role of a qualified expert
- The energy classes
- Parameters assessed by the expert during the inspection
- Validity term of an Energy Certificate
- Research for certified buildings
- Cost of attaining the Energy Certificate
- Waiting period for the issue of the Energy Certificate
- Benefits for the citizen
- Penalties for the owner for not having an Energy Certificate of a building
- Legislation

The Energy Certificate:

The Energy Certificate is the most visible aspect of the Energy Classification System; it is the document that quantifies energy performance and classifies the quality of indoor air of a building or autonomous unit. Together with this document, a label of energy performance is also allocated to residential or services buildings, indicating measures to improve their energy performance.
The energy label provides for the classification of residential or services units on a scale that varies between A+ (high energy efficiency) and G (low efficiency), similar to the one used by some domestic appliances and equipment, thus enabling easy reading and interpretation by the consumer.

Objectives of the Energy Certificate:

In new buildings, energy certification provides for verification of correct implementation of thermal and quality of indoors climate rules applicable to the building and its energy systems, and for obtaining information on energy performance in nominal conditions of use.

Furthermore, the buildings’ energy consumption, in nominal conditions of use, is a credible comparison factor when buying or renting a building. It enables potential buyers or tenants to assess the quality of the building in terms of its energy performance and quality of indoor climate and, therefore, to compare and assess higher or lower level of fuel and electricity costs to maintain indoor comfort conditions, as well as the better or worse quality of indoor climate within the spaces that will be used (with potential impact on health and productivity).

In existing buildings (and to a less extent in new buildings), the energy certificate also provides information on the measures to improve energy performance and the indoor climate that the owner may implement, thereby reducing energy costs between 20% and 40% with the consequent reduction of CO2 emissions (the implementation of these measures is not compulsory).

Buildings affected by the Energy Certification System:
Under the Energy Certification System:

- New buildingsare all those buildings with an architectural project submitted after 1 July 2008.
- Existing buildingsare all those buildings with an architectural project submitted before 1 July 2008.

The following buildings require the intervention of a qualified expert to obtain an energy certificate:

- All buildings (existing and new, residential or for the tertiary sector) when setting up selling or rental contracts, where the owner must present the buyer, renter or tenant with the certificate issued in the context of the ECS;
- All new buildings as well as existing buildings subject to major renovation (where renovation cost is higher than 25% of the value of the building, excluding the value of the land on which the building is situated);
- Existing buildings for the tertiary sector periodically subject to audits.

Cases where presentation of the Energy Certificate is required:

- Building license or authorization (Statement of Energy Conformity which replaces the Energy Certificate during the project phase);
- Request for license or utilisation permit;
- Act of the deed;
- Submission of the lease contract to the Financial Authority (the physical presentation of the document is not necessary, provided it is mentioned in the text of the contract).

Entities involved in the Energy Certification process:
Among others:

- Supervising entities: Direcção Geral de Energia e Geologia (DGEG) (link - http://www.dgge.pt/);
- Managing entity: Agência para a Energia (ADENE) (link: http://www.adene.pt/ADENE.Portal);
- Qualified experts(QE): duly qualified technicians, individually responsible for leading the buildings’ certification process; list of experts available on ADENE’s site (link - http://www.adene.pt/ADENE/Canais/SubPortais/SCE/BolsadePeritos/Pesquisa/?q=true&SiteSearchField=&rbPQSkills=2&txtNumber=&txtName=&ddlRegiao=1&ddlDistrito=11&ddlConcelho=).

The role of a qualified expert:

In principle, the owners or promoters of buildings or equipment do not interact directly with the Energy Certification System. To that effect, they should resort to a qualified expert.

 Issuing energy certificates is a responsibility of qualified experts. For this purpose they will use an informatics system, made available by ADENE, for issuing and registering the document.

In the case of existing buildings, the expert assesses the building’s energy performance and classifies it accordingly on a scale from A+ (best performance) to G (worst performance) and, if appropriate, proposes improvement measures for energy performance.

In the case of new buildings (or during periodical audits of existing buildings for the tertiary sector), the expert checks the conformity with the requirements, assesses performance and certifies them. If the expert detects non-compliance with the applicable requirements, the Energy Certificate will not be issued or registered. In this case, the expert must inform the owner or the promoter so that the situation detected can be corrected.

The energy classes:

The qualification of the building follows a pre-defined scale of 7+2 classes (A+, A, B, B-, C, D, E, F and G), where class A+ corresponds to a building with best energy performance and class G corresponds to a building with worst energy performance.

In the new buildings (where the construction license request was submitted after the ECS came into force), the energy classes can only vary between A+ and B-.

The existing buildings may vary between A+ and G.

The scale of energy classification of buildings is relative, i.e., the building is classified by comparing it with another reference building. The reference building is the one that, meeting the minimum characteristics set out by the regulations (RCCTE and RSECE), is placed in the lower limit of class B-.

Changes between classes correspond to increases or decreases of 50% which, in the case of classes A+, A, B and B-, will be of 25%.

For example: a class D building will potentially have an energy consumption of between 50 to 100% above the reference building. However, a class A+ building will have a potential consumption that will not exceed the 25% of the reference consumption. Translated into costs of the energy invoice, the owner of a class D building would have an invoice between 50% more and the double of a class B- one, whereas in a class A+ that invoice would only be between 0 and 25% than it would be in case where the building was a B-.

Parameters to be assessed by the expert during the inspection:

The calculation methodologies to determine the energy class of a building depend on its typology:

In residential buildings (with or without air-conditioning systems) and small buildings for tertiary sector with no air-conditioning  systems or with such systems but with an installed power of less than 25 kW, the global energy needs are affected by the construction characteristics of the building (orientation, walls, roofs, glass-fitted areas, etc.), by the use or not of renewable energies, by the ventilation type and systems (natural or mechanic) and by the efficiency and fuel used in air-conditioning and warm sanitary water production (WSW). Essentially, the energy needs for air-conditioning (heating and cooling) and for the production of WSW determine the class. Aspects such as illumination or the consumption of electrical appliances are not included in the calculation of performance.

In buildings for the tertiary sector (large or small with air-conditioning systems with an installed power equal to or above 25 kW), essentially what counts are the buildings’ foreseen air-conditioning (heating and cooling), lighting and other energy consumption. As in the previous case, the behaviour of the users of the building are not taken into account, given that all buildings are assessed according to the same comfort and use pattern.

Consequently, although the number of classes on the scale is the same, different indicators and calculation formulae are used in the energy classification of residential buildings (classification based on energy needs (Ntc and Nt)) and services (classification based on specific consumptions (IEEnom).

Validity term of an Energy Certificate:

- 10 years for residential buildings or those destined for the tertiary sector which are not subject to periodic energy audits;

- 2, 3 or 6 years for buildings or units subject to periodic energy audits.

- On expiry date of the certificate, the owner must endeavour to obtain its renewal through the issue of a new document to be issued with a different  identification number.

Search for certified buildings:

By introducing the identification data of a given building in the certified building search tool (link - http://www.adene.pt/ADENE/Canais/SubPortais/SCE/EdificiosCertificados/Pesquisa/) in ADENE’s Portal, you may consult the contents of the respective Energy Certificate.

Using the same tool, you may verify whether a given Energy Certificate is valid, and confirm whether it is registered in the Energy Certification System (by inputting the number of the document).

Cost involved in obtaining the Energy Certificate:

The process to obtain the Energy Certificate involves two types of costs – the amount due to the qualified expert for issuing the Certificate, and ADENE’s registration tax:

For residential buildings, the tax corresponding to the certificate’s registration as foreseen in the ECS amounts to €45.00 per unit, plus VAT in force (in total €54). For buildings for the tertiary sector, the tax corresponding to the certificate’s registration as foreseen in the ECS amounts to €250.00 per unit, plus VAT in force (in total €300).

The cost of issuing an Energy Certificate by the qualified experts is not fixed, and it varies according to the type and complexity of the building. According to our market research, the value charged by the qualified experts (excluding the ADENE registration tax) varies between €180 (T0) and €280 (houses up to 500m2 for residential purposes), and between €211 and €355 for buildings for the tertiary sector (services).

To give an example, the cost of an Energy Certificate for a T2 apartment would be, on average, € 284 (€230 + €54 ADENE tax).

Only after payment of the Registration Tax will the file become available for legal use to the qualified expert legal use, which he can then present to the owner or promoter who hired his/her services.

Waiting period for issuing the Energy Certificate:

After inspection, the time necessary to elaborate the calculation of a residential unit, to submit it to the Certification System, to pay the tax and issue the Energy Certificate varies on average between 5 and 10 working days, if the information needed (documentation requested by the expert) is immediately available. However, it may take as long as 15 working days. Some companies admit that it is possible to “increase the pace” and reduce the delay, by increasing the percentage of the normal price or a fixed tax for urgency situations.

Benefits for the citizen:

- Besides the potential economy in terms of energy, a set of benefits has been created to promote the Energy Certificate to the citizen, of which a tax bonus of 10% of the benefits related to credit for purchasing class A/A+ buildings should be highlighted, as well as tax and fiscal incentives for micro investments.

- Penalties against the owner in case he/she does not have an Energy Certificate of a building.

- Besides not being able to sell or rent the building, he/she is subject to a penalty set out in no. 1 of Article 14 of Decree-Law 78/2006 of 4 April, which varies between 250 and 3741 EUR in the case of physical persons and between 2,500 and 44,892 EUR in the case of legal persons.


Those who wish to have a more in-depth view of the theme, the description of the legislation in force, should consult the following links:

Decree-Law 78/2006 of 4 April(link - http://www.adene.pt/NR/rdonlyres/E8BD54A9-11C8-4DE3-A27D-41F92546DF84/19/Decretolein78_2006.pdf

Decree-Law 79/2006 of 4 April (link - http://www.adene.pt/NR/rdonlyres/3812776A-6241-404C-A3B7-BD5022D241DC/20/Decretolein79_2006.pdf

Decree-Law 80/2006 of 4 April (link - http://www.adene.pt/NR/rdonlyres/AFFCB805-B160-43EA-A83C-6EED4EB42945/43/Decretolein80_2006.pdf

Administrative Rule no. 461/2007of 5 July(link - http://www.adene.pt/NR/rdonlyres/5FC21C45-CCF2-4161-8E13-AF33A6A21AE6/224/Portarian461_2007.pdf)

Administrative Rule no. 835/2007 of 7 August(link - http://www.adene.pt/NR/rdonlyres/927B173D-D5F0-4CCE-B6CE-D3D9BF9E6AC7/225/Portarian835_2007.pdf

Dispatch no. 10250/2008 of 8 April (link - http://www.adene.pt/NR/rdonlyres/55DAECD5-3414-4EA6-905F-0F22019A534E/470/Despacho102502008_SCE.pdf

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