What are Energy Performance Certificates?
If you’re selling a property, if you’re putting it up for rent, or even if you’ve built a house from scratch, you’ll need to order an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This certificate is provided by a certified Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) and determines the energy efficiency rating of your property. EPCs must be ordered before the property is brought to market.
You will need to find an accredited DEA to obtain an EPC. In England, Scotland and Ireland, you can search for EPC assessors here, whereas people in Scotland should use this register.
What does an EPC entail?
The DEA will come to your property and spend around one hour taking a look around and examining your appliances, insulation, and other energy-efficiency measures. Their report will contain:
- Information about the average energy use of the property
- An estimate of how much this energy consumption costs
- A series of recommendations that can be followed to improve the EPC rating and save occupants money
You may be asked about the reliability of your appliances, such as if you have experienced boiler breakdowns recently, or if you have arranged boiler services and repairs.
EPCs are scaled from A to G, A being the gold standard and G indicating that there is massive room for improvement. Although EPCs are valid for a decade, you may wish to apply for another EPC if you make considerable renovations to your home – a better EPC will likely improve both the price and appeal of your home.
You may be somewhat taken-aback by the results of your EPC. The EPC for the mid-terrace house I live in shows that we use 301 kWh per square metre every year, but could potentially cut this down to 185 kWh per square metre, and that our current annual carbon footprint of 3.3 tonnes could be cut back to just two tonnes.
Simple energy-efficiency upgrades could make a massive difference to the sustainability of my home – we don’t even have cavity wall insulation and our loft insulation is deemed ‘average’. The EPC states that we have a ‘good’ mains gas boiler, but presumably in an effort to reduce overheads and avoid the need for annual gas boiler services, our landlord elected to replace this with an electric boiler, which has surely seen our energy efficiency nose-dive.
When will I receive my EPC?
DEAs will strive to ensure that your EPC certificate is ready in a matter of days. Once your EPC has become available, it will be put on a national database and you will be legally permitted to put your house up for rent or for sale.
If you put your house on the market before receiving your EPC, you could actually be fined. There is a six-month enforcement window in which fines can be levied, and the fixed penalty violators will receive is £200 per dwelling. On average, the energy performance certificate cost is around £60 and if you consider the EPCs cost, you can make it significantly easier for you to sell your home so these fines highlight how valuable these certifications can be.
Do I need an EPC?
Almost every residential building requires an EPC. There are a number of property types that are excluded from these requirements, including:
- Buildings that are scheduled to be demolished
- Temples and other places of worship
- Stand-alone structures with less than 50 sq m of usable floor space
- Residential buildings that are only occupied for less than four in every 12 months
- Holiday homes that are rented out for less than four in every 12 months
- Workshops, industrial buildings and non-residential agricultural buildings
- Rooms in hostels and halls of residence
Can I compare my EPC with other similar properties?
The EPC scheme is intended to promote long-term improvements in the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock, and as such, EPC information is publicly-available. It’s not only homebuyers who can read up on EPCs – property investors may be very interested in the energy performance ratings of properties similar to the buildings in their portfolio.
Simply put the postcode of the property you’re interested in researching into this online tool and view the building’s EPC for free.
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