Energy performance certificates (EPCs)
Energy performance certificates are necessary for anyone selling or renting out a domestic property or commercial building and measures the energy efficiency.
Energy performance certificates (EPCs) will allocate to the property a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient) and gives the bill payer an idea of what electricity and heating will cost them and what the carbon dioxide emissions will be like. The average rating received among properties assessed is currently at D/E, with new homes likely to have a better rating.
The certificate will also state what the energy efficiency rating could be if improvements are made and highlights cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating. The EPC will also advise on simple measures that can be taken, such as switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.
Certain buildings don’t need an EPC. These include:
- places of worship
- temporary buildings that will be used for less than two years
- stand-alone non-residential buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
- industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy
- some buildings that are due to be demolished
- holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than four months a year or is let under a licence to occupy.
As part of the Green Deal, introduced by the government to assist householders and businesses to improve their energy efficiency, EPCs have been updated to make it more transparent how much householders might save in bills from making energy improvements.
It will also include more specified costs for carrying out recommended measures and how much can be saved over a three-year period.
The EPC will now also specify whether or not the recommended actions are available under the Green Deal. If they are covered a green tick will appear next to them; if not, and you must pay upfront, an amber tick will appear.
An approved domestic or non-domestic energy assessor is required to produce the EPC, which can be arranged through your estate agent or directly with an EPC provider. Visit the energy performance certificate register online to find accredited energy assessors in your area and get quotes. You can also check whether an individual assessor is approved through the site.
The certificate must, at least, have been commissioned as you begin to market the property, so that it will be available to potential buyers or tenants as soon as possible.
The EPC is valid for 10 years and could cost anywhere between £60 and £120, so shop around.
In Scotland, home reports can cost from £600 but there may be regional variations. If you are selling your home in Scotland, get a quote from your estate agent as well as from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for a survey and energy report.
EPCs are a legacy of the Home Information Packs (HIPS) programme, proposed by the previous government to streamline the buying and selling of property and provide potential new buyers or tenants with information about the condition and legal status of the building before they decide to take it on.
HIPS were suspended in May 2010 but the requirement for EPCs continued under a European directive to make homes more energy efficient. If you don’t get an EPC you can be fined.
If you are the potential tenant or owner of a property then ensure that the person selling the house shows you the EPC.
In Scotland the EPC must be displayed somewhere in the property, such as on the meter cupboard or next to the boiler.
You can look at the EPCs of other properties free of charge. This lets you compare your home’s energy performance with that of similar homes. You can search by the property’s address or by the EPC’s report reference number.
If you don’t want other people to be able to see your EPC on the EPC register, you can opt out.
For more information and to assess the EPC register go online to www.epcregister.com.