Your need-to-know guide to Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Every property in the UK that is built, sold or rented needs an Energy Performance Certificate, often abbreviated simply to an EPC. This tells you how much the building will cost to heat, power and produce hot water.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) can help you understand how energy efficient your home is, or how energy efficient a potential new home will be. Using your property’s EPCs, you can also compare gas and electricity tariffs and find better energy deals to save money.
What an Energy Performance Certificate is for
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What an EPC can tell you
The information included in an Energy Performance Certificate is:
- an energy efficiency rating graded from A to G,
- estimated running costs tailored to your home, and
- energy performance features summarised.
In addition to details about energy usage and estimated costs, the Energy Performance Certificate will provide recommendations for:
- increasing energy efficiency,
- reducing energy usage,
- using this insight to save money, and
- estimated cost savings for implementing the suggestions.
The recommendations could include anything from having insulation fitted in your walls and roof to installing energy-saving light bulbs.
The EPC also provides an environmental impact rating to help you understand the property’s carbon emissions.
This information provides you with a new perspective into how powering and heating your home contributes to climate change, whilst equipping you with the knowledge to make a difference with a greener, more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly setup.
Energy efficiency rating
A section of your EPC will be dedicated to how energy efficient your property is, graded from A to G.
Grade A signifies the most energy-efficient rating. Homes with an A rating are often:
- modern buildings,
- with well-insulated roof and walls, and usually
- with minimal impact from the weather experienced within the home.
Grade D falls in the middle of the energy efficiency scale. Homes with a D rating are often:
- old buildings, and
- without energy-saving technology or measures installed.
Grade G comes in at the bottom end of the scale as the least energy efficient. Homes with a G rating are often:
- old buildings,
- with draughts, and sometimes
- with impact from the weather felt indoors, for example, the wind rattling the walls.
Who needs an EPC
Property developers, home-owners planning to sell a property and landlords planning to rent out a property are responsible for getting an EPC. This is so that buyers or tenants can be provided with this information, and you can expect a £200 fine if you don’t comply.
EPCs for buyers or renters
How much EPCs cost
There isn’t a fixed fee for an Energy Performance Certificate. The cost will vary depending on how large your home is, the number of bedrooms and the type of property it is.
Usually, the cost of an EPC is up to £120, and sometimes as little as half that price. It is the assessor who provides the quotes, and as the assessments are completed in an entirely unbiased manner, there’s no benefit to paying more. It’s worth shopping around and comparing quotes before you commit.
How to improve your Energy Performance Certificate rating
Outlined in your EPC, you will find clear recommendations for improving your Energy Performance Certificate rating by developing the energy efficiency of your building. This will include indicative costs to help you know what to expect, and how much you could save.
Typically, you will see suggestions relating to items in your home like your boiler. If your boiler is over 15 years old, the EPC will recommend that you replace it with a new condensing boiler, choosing a reliable model that is A-rated. Similarly, they might suggest you add an insulating jacket to a hot water tank, or install loft insulation or wall insulation.
There may also be suggestions for taking bolder steps, such as installing solar panels to create your own electricity using a renewable source.
What to do if you have questions about your EPC
After your assessor provides you with your Energy Performance Certificate, they will usually be happy to talk through the results with you.
If you disagree with the assessment or don’t feel confident that you understand something on your certificate, ask the energy assessor about this.
If they can’t resolve the problem, you can follow this up by contacting their accreditor, the details of which will be listed on your certificate.