Critical assessment of the EU labeling scheme for buildings
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The aim of this study was to investigate the whole procedure followed for issuing an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and to indicate the barriers that emerge throughout this procedure. A literature review showed that more research should be done regarding the quality of the certificates and the whole procedure in which buildings are certified as well as the way in which their energy efficiency can be improved. Greece and the United Kingdom were chosen to be investigated due to the different geographical location and, thus, the different climate between them. Mainly qualitative research methodology was utilized in this study. A quantitative analysis was carried out as well but not extensively due to lack of data. The information and data used in this research were collected through a literature review. A comparative assessment was conducted in order to present similarities and differences between the two countries. A SWOT analysis was carried out to identify the strengths and weaknesses and, thus, the barriers to issue EPCs. The comparative assessment showed that the EPCs that are issued in the United Kingdom are stronger than those in Greece as they are based on more accurate calculations and the various building categories (new/existing and domestic/non-domestic) affect the form of the certification. A qualitative analysis showed that the ambition level in the United Kingdom is higher. In turn, the outcome of the SWOT analysis was that again the United Kingdom outweighed as there was found stronger features than in Greece even though the weaknesses did not differ much. Finally, the barrier that was found to hamper more the proper implementation of the EPCs lies within the regulations. In particular, the recommendation reports that accompany the EPCs contain non-mandatory measures on improvements of the energy efficiency of a building. What is recommended is that the owners should be in a way legally bound to follow the advice that is given in the reports. Additionally, concerning the audits, stricter penalties is recommended to be given in cases where EPCs are not available.