Energy Performance Certificates Explained

If you’ve bought or sold, rented or let a property, you may well have come across an Energy Performance Certificate. They were introduced back in 2007 and give information about the energy efficiency of a property.

Let’s look at them in more detail.

What is an EPC?

An EPC is a certificate which shows information about the energy efficiency of a property. Most focus falls on the score or grade that is given to the property - each is scored A to G, where A is the most energy efficient, and G the least.

If you have a brand new home or one that is only recently built, you should expect to see a much higher rating than an older property. In many cases older properties were built before energy saving techniques were developed .

Energy Performance Certificates Explained

Who has to have an EPC?

It is a legal requirement to have an EPC in place for your home before you begin the process of selling it. This is sometimes arranged via an estate agent but can equally be done directly through certain specialist assessors. The EPC will then be made available to prospective buyers.

In theory at least, a property with a higher EPC rating is more marketable than one with a lower EPC rating. That’s because the energy running costs for such a home should be lower.

If you’re a landlord and renting out a property, you’ll also need an EPC for prospective tenants.

There are only a couple of exceptions to the requirement for an EPC. Resident landlords letting out a room don’t need a certificate and listed buildings may also be exempt if they’re unable to make energy efficiency improvements such as double glazing.

What information is on an EPC?

Although the focus on an EPC is on the rating itself, there is a large amount of useful, practical information also contained on it.

  • The estimated energy costs for the building
  • The estimated energy savings that could be made

The EPC considers the energy that would be consumed through heating, lighting and running hot water at the property. It doesn’t attempt to make any estimate of which appliances might be used.

Not only does it give you an idea of what the property might cost and what it might save, it also offers suggestions on the best ways those savings might be made. For example:

  • Increasing loft insulation
  • Adding double glazing
  • Adding wall cavity insulation
  • Adding draught proofing

The report offers a likely cost range for each option plus the likely annual savings that they would generate. It also lists each element of the home as can be seen in the example report here. Against that, it details any energy performance features and gives an energy efficiency assessment for each.

All in all, the EPC contains a significant amount of useful information and not just for home buyers. Since April this year, private tenants can seek permission from their landlord to carry out energy efficiency improvements in their rented property too.

Querying an EPC

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

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