Energy Performance Certificates guide
Why your home needs an Energy Performance Certificate
All buildings within the UK that are available to buy or rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is to disclose the energy efficiency of the building and to highlight to any future owners or tenants the expected costs involved in heating, cooling and lighting. All new properties must get an EPC completed once they have been built.
EPCs are also beneficial to existing homeowners – an energy performance survey will show you how efficient your home is, and how you can improve the comfort of your home while saving money on your energy bills.
For landlords, EPCs are becoming all the more important, as they’re obligated to meet a minimum EPC rating to legally let out their property (there’s more on this below).
What are EPCs?
Similar to the coloured stickers on electric equipment, an EPC shows the energy efficiency rating of a building. Ranging from an A rating (very efficient) through to a G rating (very inefficient) it will let you know how much you can expect to spend on heating, cooling and lighting the building. It will also tell you the level of carbon dioxide emissions the building is generating.
An EPC will also include what changes could be made to the building to improve the rating. This useful information could help save you money whether you rent or you own the building.
A building’s EPC is valid for 10 years, however if you implement the recommended changes to improve the energy efficiency, you may want to get a new rating.
How do you get an EPC?
For properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, EPCs can only be produced by accredited Domestic Energy Assessors (or EPC assessors). Estate agents are able to organise for an assessor to come to your property, but we wouldn’t advise using them – they may come with added costs.
For properties in Scotland, only organisations approved by the Scottish Government can complete energy assessments.
MEES compliant (for landlords)
As of April 2018, landlords are legally obligated to meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. This means that for new tenancies and renewals, the property must achieve an EPC rating E or above. If the EPC rating is lower than E, the landlord must make energy efficiency improvements to their properties, or they risk facing a hefty penalty.
FiT Tariff qualification
If you are planning on installing solar PV panels and want to benefit from the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT), you will need to get an energy rating for your building. An energy rating of D or above is required before you can receive Feed-in Tarriff payments at the standard rate.
Learn from your EPC
When you receive an EPC for a building, it will include suggestions on how you can improve the efficiency rating. Simple changes such as switching to energy efficient LED bulbs or sealing the gaps around window and door frames can significantly improve the energy efficiency and your EPC rating.