What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
All homes on sale or for rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) showing how energy efficient the property is.
EPCs were introduced in 2007 and are valid for 10 years from the date of issue. You’re legally required to have one if you’re planning to sell your home or let out a property.
Here, we explain exactly how they work, and how to go about getting one.
What is an EPC rating and what does it mean?Properties are rated on their energy efficiency on a scale of A to G.
Properties rated A are the most energy efficient, whereas those rated G will be least energy efficient, meaning fuel bills will cost more.
On the certificate, ratings are colour-coded, with A-C ratings shown in different shades of green, D, the middle rating is shown in yellow, E and F are in shades of orange, and G in red.
A number between 1-100 is shown on the arrow marking the property’s rating. Higher numbers indicate that the property is energy efficient, whereas lower numbers indicate that it is not. As well as the current energy efficiency rating being shown, the certificate will also show the property’s potential rating were you to make the improvements suggested in the report.
From April 2018, it became unlawful to let out a property which doesn’t meet a Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES). To meet this standard, rental properties must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E or above.
Landlords who don’t comply with the new regulations could be fined up to £4,000. The new rules apply to nearly all domestic private rented sector properties in England and Wales. If your property doesn’t meet the minimum standard of E or higher, you’ll need to take steps to improve its energy efficiency. These could include ensuring the property is properly insulated so that heat isn’t lost through walls or the roof, and adding new window or door seals.
You can find full details of the Energy Efficiency Regulations here.
What other information does the EPC show?As well as rating the property’s energy efficiency, the EPC will also show the estimated energy costs of the property over three years, broken down into lighting, heating and hot water costs. It also shows what your potential costs could be if you made the property more energy efficient. The certificate will give you a list of the top actions you can take to make your home more efficient, such as installing low energy lighting, or high heat retention storage heaters.
In addition, it provides a summary of all the property’s energy performance related features, and how they rank on a scale of zero to five star in terms of energy efficiency.
How to find out what your EPC rating isIf you’re not sure what the EPC rating on your property is, you can search the EPC register. If your property doesn’t have an EPC, you’ll need to appoint an accredited assessor to visit your property and produce a certificate. You can search for an assessor on the EPC register if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland, you can search on the Scottish EPC register.
How is an EPC rating calculated?When an assessor visits your home to calculate your EPC rating, they will spend time examining features such as your windows, roof insulation and lighting. Points are scored for each energy efficient measure your home has. After the assessor’s inspection, they will use software to work out the energy rating for the property and to produce the certificate. To achieve a top A rating, you’d need 92-100 points, whereas the least efficient homes with a G rating would have between 1-20 points.
How much does it cost to get an EPC rating?The cost of an EPC will vary depending on where you are in the country and the size of your property. Costs typically start from around £35 and go up to £120 or more. It’s a good idea to get quotes from two or three different assessors before committing, so you can be certain you’ve found the best possible deal.
How to improve your EPC ratingThere are several ways to make your home more energy efficient, therefore improving your EPC rating.
For example, upgrading an old inefficient boiler to a condensing boiler, and fitting cavity and roof insulation can all boost your rating. Installing double glazing and ensuring you have low energy lighting throughout the property will also make a difference to your property’s EPC rating.