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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Energy Performance Certificates

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives home owners, tenants and buyers information on the energy efficiency of their property. It gives the building a standard energy and carbon emission efficiency grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’, where ‘A’ is the most efficient and with the average to date being D.

Example of energy efficiency rating graph for homes

What else does the certificate do?

EPCs are measured using the same calculations for all homes, so you can compare the energy efficiency of different properties.

Part of the EPC is a report which will list the potential rating that your home could achieve, if you made the recommended changes. The report lists:

  • suggested improvements (such as fitting loft insulation)
  • the approximate cost
  • possible cost savings per year if the improvements are made
  • how this would change the energy and carbon emission rating of the property

You can use this information to:

  • cut your fuel bills 
  • improve energy performance in your home 
  • help cut carbon emissions
  • help you choose a more energy efficient home to rent or buy

You do not have to act on the recommendations contained in the recommendation report. However, if you decide to do so, then it could make your property more attractive for sale or rent by making it more energy efficient.

For more information on saving energy and eligibility for energy efficiency grants, follow the link below.

Does everyone need an EPC?

The EPC is required by law when a building is constructed, sold or put up for rent.

Sellers or buyers of homes
All sellers of homes need to ensure that they provide a Home Information Pack which includes an EPC for potential buyers.

An EPC must be made available to a potential homebuyer – free of charge.

Builders
An EPC needs to be provided to buyers of newly built properties.

Landlords
If you are a landlord, you’ll need to make an EPC available to prospective tenants the first time you let a home after 1 October 2008. An EPC is only required for a property which is self-contained, and is valid for 10 years.

An EPC isn’t required when a tenant rents a room and shares facilities.

Tenants
If you are interested in renting a property then an EPC must be made available to you free of charge. An EPC is only required for a property which is self-contained, and is valid for 10 years.

If you are a prospective tenant, an EPC isn’t required when you rent a room and share facilities.

If you are not in one of the above categories
Even if you do not fall into the above categories, you can still apply for and receive an EPC. This may be because you want to know what the energy efficiency of your home is and implement improvements suggested by the recommendation report.

To find out more about what an EPC contains, follow the link below.

Will EPCs be needed across the UK?

EPCs only apply to England and Wales. Northern Ireland and Scotland are producing their own regulations. For more general details on the differences in legislation in different parts of the UK, follow the link below.

How do you get an EPC?

EPCs can only be produced as a result of a survey by an ‘accredited’ Domestic Energy Assessor. EPCs are used to collect standard information on the property – for example, its size and hot water/heating systems. The information is then fed into a government-approved software programme which produces the EPC.

Follow the links below for more information on:

  • how to get EPCs
  • a list of national accreditation schemes for energy assessors
  • details of the energy assessment process

How much will it cost?

The price of an EPC is set by the accredited organisations which issue them. When you obtain a Home Information Pack, the overall cost should include that of an EPC. If you apply for an EPC on its own then the cost for an average house is approximately £100.

How long will it take to get one?

Obtaining an EPC for an average sized home is likely to take the same time as a house valuation report which has to be prepared when a property is put up for sale. The exact time will vary from property to property.

Public buildings

Certain public buildings must have a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) which contains similar information to an EPC, to enable visitors and users of the building to see its energy efficiency rating.

EPCs for business premises

From October 2008, owners of all commercial buildings also have to provide an EPC when they buy, sell or let commercial premises.

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