22.214.171.124 Building certification and labelling systems
The purpose of building labelling and certification is to overcome barriers relating to the lack of information, the high transaction costs, the long lifetime of buildings and the problem of displaced incentives between the builder and buyer, or between the owner and tenant. Certification and labelling schemes can be either mandatory or voluntary.
With the introduction of the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (see Box 6.3), building certification is to be instituted throughout Europe. Voluntary certification and/or labelling systems have also been developed for building products such as windows, insulation materials and HVAC components in North America, the EU and a few other countries (McMahon and Wiel, 2001; Menanteau, 2001). The voluntary Energy Star Buildings rating and Energy Star Homes label in the USA and the NF-MI voluntary certificate for houses in France have proven to be effective in ensuring compliance with energy code requirements and sometimes in achieving higher performance levels (Hicks and Von Neida, 1999). Switzerland has developed the ‘Minergie’ label for new buildings that have a 50% lower energy demand than buildings fulfilling the mandatory requirements; such buildings typically require roughly 6% additional investment costs (OPET Network, 2004). Several local governments in Japan apply the Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE) (IBEC, 2006). The Australian city of Canberra (ACT) has a requirement for all houses to be energy-efficiency rated on sale. The impact on the market has been to place a financial value on energy efficiency through a well-informed marketplace (ACT, 2006).