Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Greece, as a member state of the European Union, is subject to certain obligations. One important obligation engages in Europe’s effort to reduce energy consumption, 40 per cent of which alone applies to buildings. Working towards that direction, the EU introduced a directive in 2002, requiring all countries to develop advanced energy policies. This brings us to this month’s topic, the second key area outlined in my introduction: Energy Performance Certificates, or EPCs (Energeiako Pistopoiitiko). Under the guidelines of the EU, in 2008 the Greek government implemented new energy efficiency laws regarding all buildings. This new legislation includes guidelines and requirements for new and radically renovated buildings, including a plan of certification for all built property. As a result, the Energy Performance Certificate was first introduced and enforced on July 9, 2011 upon rental agreements, and a few months later, on January 9, 2012 the law was extended to apply to all property sold, as well as for all property conveyances in general. The requirement of issuing an EPC generally applies to all residential and commercial buildings exceeding 50 square metres in surface, with certain exemptions. All built property less than that is excluded, as are storage and agricultural-use buildings, minor or major industries, gas service stations, garages and landmark buildings. A routine energy inspection is conducted only by a certified energy inspector/engineer, who visits the property for a general overview of wall insulation, exterior shading, the size and type of windows as well as the heating, hot water and cooling system. This information combined with the total heated surface determine the amount of energy a building consumes, which is then rated on a 9 grade scale from A+ to H, A+ being the highest and most efficient. Recommendations with cost-effective improvements for the lower rated buildings are noted on the issued certificate; owners do not necessarily have to act upon them. Technical data and information of the inspected property, including building permits issued after March 14, 1983 and national land registry ownership codes (next month’s topic) are entered in an electronic database from which certificates are officially issued. Each certificate is identified by a unique authentication code and is valid for ten years of issue-date. The cost varies and depends on the building’s surface area and type. In cases when illegal/non-declared built space is inspected, legalisation documents are required. This is why it is important for owners with property violations to take advantage of the grace period for compliance which expires in February 2016, as mentioned in my previous article on Illegal Structures. However, owners can actually benefit up to 50 per cent of the total penalty fine if that amount is invested in upgrading the property’s energy efficiency. In light of the financial crisis, the Greek government has also initiated the Energy Efficiency at Household Buildings Program, offering financial incentives for homeowners depending on economic status and the property’s location. Interventions include replacing outdated windows/doors, upgrading heating and hot water supply systems, installing shading systems and heat insulation on exterior walls, terraces and roofs. In the introductory article, I mentioned a ‘fast tracking’ of many new property laws, one of which involves rental agreements, which as of this year are submitted on-line. Submitting an Energy Performance Certificate for the rented property, however, has become an option even though relevant legislation has not changed. Most owners as expected are taking advantage of this option and prefer not to comply with the requirement just to avoid the additional cost of issuing an EPC. Acknowledging this confusion, the government is currently looking into making adjustments so that filing EPCs, when required under law, is mandatory. While Energy Performance Certificates ratings may not have a significant effect on a building’s market value, a high-level rating will definitely make it more attractive. Additionally, the general awareness for eco-friendly buildings has created a demand for new technology and updated materials that can reduce energy consumption significantly and efficiently. Green living has become more than a trend. In the next article in this series, we will discuss the Hellenic Cadastre – National Land Registry (Ktimatologio).