If you are buying or selling a property, you are likely to hear the phrase Energy Performance Certificate, but it seems there is still a lot of confusion about what one is and what role it plays in a sale.
Don’t worry, we are going to address all of your big questions, including:
- What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
- How do you get an Energy Performance Certificate?
- How will an Energy Performance Certificate affect your purchase or sale?
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
“What is epc?” is a question that is typed into search engines by thousands of people every year, so despite first being introduced back in August 2007, there is clearly still a lot of confusion about what Energy Performance Certificates (also known as EPCs) are.
What is an EPC certificate?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document that shows the results of an energy efficiency assessment, ie. how much energy is wasted in your property and how your property impacts the environment.
What does EPC rating mean?
An EPC rating is the grade given to a property to show how energy efficient it is. This is important because it will, in turn, have an impact on how much you need to pay in energy bills.
Energy Performance Certificate explained – what does it all mean?
It is easy to get confused by an Energy Performance certificate (or EPC) and the EPC rating meaning.
The layout of the Energy Performance Certificate will follow a standard format, so it should be fairly straight-forward to understand.
At the top of the report you will find some basic information about the property, including the address and what type of property it is, along with details of when the assessment was carried out.
Beneath this information, you will find one or two diagrams; one showing the property’s energy efficiency rating and sometimes also another one showing the property’s environmental impact (carbon dioxide) rating. In some reports these are presented side by side, in others the environmental impact is shown at the end of the report.
The ratings are based on the amount of energy used per square metre of floor area, and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per square metre of floor area.
Energy Efficiency Rating: A property’s energy efficiency will be scored from 1-100; 100 being the most energy efficient and 1 being the least. This score will be included on the report within a coloured arrow, showing you where on the scale the property sits.
You will see a colour-coded grid, grading the property from ‘A’ to ‘G’; with ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and G being the least. The grades are colour coded, green (A), through to red (G).
You will see two arrows on the rating diagram, the first showing the property’s current energy efficiency rating, and the second showing the potential energy efficiency rating if certain improvement works are carried out.
Environmental Impact (Carbon Dioxide) Rating: The Environmental Impact Rating uses the same scoring and rating system as the Energy Efficiency Rating; with a score from 1 to 100 and a corresponding letter grade.
The colour coded system differs, however, ranging from light blue for most environmentally friendly and producing least emissions, to dark grey for least environmentally friendly and producing most emissions. It will likely take one of the following formats:
Also included in the report will be a table outlining estimated energy usage, emissions and energy costs for the property. This will list both the current estimation and potential if energy efficiency improvements are made. It will look something like this:
Estimated energy use, carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions and fuel costs of this home
|Energy use||220 kWh/m² per year||166 kWh/m² per year|
|Carbon dioxide emissions||5.1 tonnes per year||3.8 tonnes per year|
|Lighting||£87 per year||£72 per year|
|Heating||£565 per year||£463 per year|
|Hot water||£307 per year||£221 per year|
This information is given as an easy reference guide, enabling potential buyers or renters to compare properties. They are calculated using average measures (average time, average temperature etc) so are unlikely to match a property owner’s actual fuel bills, but as the same average figures are used across Energy Performance Certificates, it will provide sufficient data to accurately compare how well each property performs in terms of energy efficiency.
The report will provide information on the person or company that carried out the assessment. It will also offers some general information about the performance rating of buildings and the impact this has on the environment. It will list the property’s current energy efficiency measures, and recommend further improvements.
Improvements will be listed in an overview table, under the categories of ‘lower cost measures’ (those costing less than £500) and ‘higher cost measures’ (those costing more than £500). The table will also list typical financial savings each year if the work is carried out, and the impact the improvements would have on the energy efficiency rating and environmental impact rating.
Along with the overview table, the report will give more detailed information about the suggested improvements. It will also suggest how they could benefit your home, your energy bills and the environment.
How much does an Energy Performance Certificate cost?
There is no set fee for an Energy Performance Certificate, so whilst prices typically start from around £35, the exact price you pay will depend on the size of your property and the area you live in.
How long is an Energy Performance Certificate valid for?
An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for ten years. If the property in question is a rental property, an Energy Performance Certificate may be used for multiple tenancies, as long as it has an EPC rating of E or above. Any rental property with an EPC rating of F or G must have energy efficiency improvements made to raise it to an E rating before it can be let on a new tenancy or have a fixed term tenancy renewed.
How to get an Energy Performance Certificate
If you are selling your property through an estate agent, they will usually arrange for an Energy Performance Certificate assessment to be carried out on your behalf.
If you are selling a property privately, you can find an assessor and book an assessment using the government’s Energy Performance Certificate register.
Getting an Energy Performance Certificate is always the responsibility of the person selling or renting out the property, rather than the person buying or renting.
What will an Energy Performance Certificate assessor do?
An Energy Performance Certificate assessor will want to see every room of your property, and any loft space (if possible). The assessment will take around an hour to complete.
They will pay attention to the age and layout of your property, how and when it was constructed, and any improvements that have been made.
How your property is heated will have big impact on your Energy Performance Certificate rating, as will any insulation work you have had carried out and the quality of your windows.
Quick and easy steps you can take, in advance of an Energy Performance Certificate assessment, to have an instant impact on your property’s energy efficiency rating include:
- Swapping any standard light bulbs for low energy ones
- Insulating your water tank and pipes with lagging to keep your water hot for longer
- Addressing any drafts within the property
Where can I find an EPC checker?
The Energy Performance Certificate register, or EPC register as it’s commonly referred to, provides a search service to help you find and check current Energy Performance Certificates. You can search using either the property address or the 20-digit reference number at the top of the certificate.
Is a landlord Energy Performance Certificate different to one required to sell a property?
No, an Energy Performance Certificate is the same, whether it is for a property that is being put on the rental market or a property that is being sold.
If you have more than one self-contained flat within the same building, each one will need a separate Energy Performance Certificate, however shared flats or houses require just one Energy Performance Certificate for the whole property. No Energy Performance Certificate is required for a room within a hall of residence.
Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?
An Energy Performance Certificate is required for any newly built property, any property being sold and any property being rented. It is the responsibility of the property owner to provide an Energy Performance Certificate, and one must be ordered before you advertise your property for sale or to rent. The EPC rating must be included in any property advertisements. Anyone who fails to supply an Energy Performance Certificate when selling or letting a property could face a hefty fine of up to £5,000.