Deadline for commercial property owners to opt out of energy performance data being publicly disclosed
The Government has issued a notice of its intention to release approximately 723,000 records comprised of data from non-domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Display Energy Certificates. The disclosure is in response to a request made under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
The records will be published online by property address. This means that the energy performance data for a particular commercial property or portfolio of properties can be easily accessed provided the address is known. Whilst non-domestic EPCs are already publicly available, the data used to produce and register the certificates is not. Currently only authorised organisations (such as government departments, local authorities, climate change charities and the holders of electricity supply licences) can apply for access to the data but only for a prescribed purpose and subject to various conditions (including payment of a fee).
Whilst the Government is planning to make energy performance data more accessible, the publication of these records will be subject to conditions (for example prohibiting the use of addresses for commercial purposes). Holders of non-domestic EPCs can opt out of having any data revealing the address or postcode of their property being made publicly available. A commercial property owner will need to think carefully about whether it will benefit from the disclosure of the energy performance data of its property, particularly in light of any renewable energy or carbon reduction commitments it has publicly made. However, it is likely that companies that highlight their green credentials will be criticised for opting out.
Applications to opt out must be made online before Friday 16 January 2015.