It seems that the furore surrounding the introduction of the Home Information Packs back in August 2007, and their subsequent demise just three years later, may have led some of us to just view an EPC as another tick box to be checked off of the long list of moving must haves.
Quick Move Now looked into EPCs and found that there is a lot more to that all important piece of paper than just a colourful graph!
What exactly is an EPC?
An EPC provides a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of your home – that’s the pretty graph bit. Many people will have seen these graphs on the back of housing details given out by estate agents, stating that a property has a rating of D (or A, B, C or E for that matter), and assume that this is the EPC.
In fact this is only a small part of a far more detailed document. The remaining pages concentrate on something much more interesting; recommendations on how to save money and make your home more energy efficient.
As part of the process, an accredited assessor will come to your home and look at all aspects of energy efficiency, including your boiler, loft insulation, double glazing, hot water tank, radiators and cavity wall insulation.
The EPC will provide information on the efficiency of the building and its potential if all the recommendations are put into place. It also highlights estimated energy use and fuel costs, as well as the suggestions to help cut the bills.
These recommendations are split into two groups, lower cost and higher cost, and can include anything from using energy efficient light bulbs, to installing a new boiler.
Further measures are also noted, which if implemented, would provide the highest energy efficient standards for the property. These could include steps such as installing photovoltaic (solar) panels or a ground source heat pump.
When do we need to get an EPC completed?
It is a statutory requirement that you should have at least booked an EPC assessment before you market your property for sale or rent. The certificate will last 10 years and stays with the property, but remember that your home’s energy efficiency may increase it if you carry out any improvements, so it could be worth updating it earlier than that.
On the flip side, when buying a house, check the date of the EPC and remember that energy prices do tend to rise every year, so an accurate comparison of energy expenditure may not be entirely possible.
Why should we use EPCs?
The aim of EPCs is to help people compare the efficiency and carbon footprint of properties before they buy or rent them. And to help people improve the efficiency of the home and therefore decrease their annual energy bills as well as their carbon emissions in the process.
Who carries out the assessment?
An EPC assessment must be carried out by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor. The assessor uses standard methods and assumptions about general energy use in homes of a similar size and special software to calculate a rating. Using these standard methods aims to make it easy to compare the energy usage and efficiency of different homes.
You can find an assessor online here, or your estate agent or home buyer will be able to arrange one for you. An EPC usually costs between £50-£100.
In short, they can save you money and cut your carbon footprint. So take a bit of time to look through the handy little document when you buy a new home and we can all start reducing our bills and saving the planet, one EPC at a time.