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Guide to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

Guide to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

If you’ve bought, sold, rented or let a property, you’ll most likely have come across an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Introduced in 2007, EPCs give information about the energy efficiency of a property and the potential energy-saving improvements that could be made.

Here’s what you need to know about Energy Performance Certificates.

Peter Earl
From the Energy team
minute read
posted 11 FEBRUARY 2020

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC is a certificate that’s issued after your property has been inspected by an accredited assessor, and it’s valid for 10 years. The EPC contains information about the property’s typical energy costs and also recommendations on how to improve its energy efficiency.

Each property is rated A to G. A is the most energy efficient, and G the least. Typically, new or recently built homes will have a higher rating than older properties, especially those built before modern energy-saving developments.

Why do properties need EPCs?

EPCs were introduced to help reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of our buildings. Under the 2018 Clean Energy Package, the EU Commission aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030.

Buildings produce around 40% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, so EPCs and their recommendations can help all of us identify where we can improve energy efficiency in our homes, and do our bit to reduce the carbon footprint.

Is an EPC a legal requirement?

An EPC is a legal requirement and you must have one before you begin the process of selling your home. In most cases, it can be arranged by your estate agent. It can also be done directly through specialist assessors.

Depending on the size of the property, the charge for an EPC assessment and certificate can be anywhere from £55 to £120.

The certificate must then be made available to prospective buyers, free of charge. It also goes on the national EPC Register, where it can be easily accessed.

If you don’t have an EPC and you need one, you could be fined up to £200.

As of 1 April 2018, all private rental properties in the UK must have an Energy Performance Certificate with a minimum rating of E. Without this, landlords won’t be allowed to rent out their properties to new tenants or renew existing rental contracts. They could also face a fine of up to £4,000.

There are exemptions to the EPC requirement, however, such as:

  • resident landlords who only let out a room
  • listed buildings
  • places of worship
  • holiday homes let out for less than four months of a year

What information is on an EPC?

Although the focus is on the rating itself, there’s also a lot of practical information, including:

  • the estimated energy costs of the building
  • the estimated energy savings that could be made

The EPC also offers suggestions on the best ways to increase energy efficiency and save money on energy bills. For example:

  • increasing loft insulation
  • adding double glazing
  • adding cavity-wall insulation
  • draught proofing

The EPC offers an estimated cost range for each option, plus the potential annual savings they could generate. It also lists each element of the home and its individual energy performance, as can be seen in this energy performance certificate example.

Querying an EPC

If you’ve any queries relating to an EPC, you can contact the assessor that carried out the report. Their details, along with the reference number for the EPC, are always included at the top of the report.

Compare and save

Even if you’re not selling or renting out your home, an EPC offers useful information that can help you to make energy-efficient improvements and, ultimately, save money.

Other simple steps, such as switching energy suppliers, could also make a difference to monthly bills.

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