A beginners guide to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

If you’re looking at selling or renting out your home, you’ll need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property. These reports were introduced by the government in 2007 to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient. Here’s everything you need to know about EPC’s.


What is an EPC?

An EPC is a report collated by an accredited domestic energy assessor. They will visit your home and check how much energy it takes to power a property and keep it warm. In the UK, around 22% of carbon emissions come from our homes from things like heating, lighting and household appliances. 

If a home scores highly on energy efficiency this will lead to cheaper bills, so it’s a good idea to check out a property’s EPC when searching for a new home. The EPC tends to be included under the property description details, but you can always ask your estate agent to provide you with a copy.


What does an EPC check involve?

An EPC will look at potential sources of drafts, or where heat can escape which will be assessed during the visit. It includes requirements like checking how well insulated your floors and walls are, if your windows are double glazed and how much heat is retained in your home. They will also check electrical systems and use of energy efficient light bulbs.

Your home’s energy rating looks like the sticker you might see on a fridge or washing machine and ranges from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Your home will be given a score out of 100, the higher the number, the lower your energy bills are likely to be. An EPC also gives you suggestions on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency and the potential grade you could reach if you were to make improvements.



How long does an EPC last?

An EPC lasts for 10yrs and will cover the property during that period, no matter how many times it’s sold or rented. If you’ve made improvements since moving into a new home, like installing energy efficient lighting, this won’t be shown in your EPC if you do a new assessment.


How do I get an EPC and how do I find out the energy rating of my property?

You can find a qualified assessor through the government’s website here 

It’s also easy to find your homes’ current EPC rating on the government’s register of EPC Certificates, if it’s been assessed you can look the rating up online here


How much does an EPC cost?

Costs vary depending on where you are based in the country and the size of your home – the fee will depend on how long it takes for your home to be assessed. EPC costs for new builds tend to be higher as they require a more detailed assessment. On average an EPC will cost between £60 and £70 according to Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA), fees are likely to increase.

If you’re selling your home it’s your responsibility to get and pay for an EPC for your estate agent and any potential buyers. As a landlord you also need to provide the EPC and for new-builds the builder must provide an EPC on completion.


Is an EPC a legal requirement?

An EPC is a legal requirement if you plan to sell your home, rent it out or build a new home. If your home doesn’t have a valid EPC you’ll need to show your estate agent that you’ve commissioned one before your home is listed.

It’s illegal for landlords to rent out a home with an EPC rating below E, without a valid exemption. You should be provided with a copy of the EPC certificate from the landlord when you move into a rental home. You can also request consent from your landlord to make energy-efficiency improvements to the property, but they will be at your own cost unless the landlord agrees to contribute. Listed buildings are exempt if they reach certain standards for energy performance.

Find out more landlord information here 


How does my property’s energy rating compare to others? 

Homes in England and Wales have an average energy rating of D and an average score of 60. Properties built after 2012 tend to have an average EPC rating of B, according to the Office of National Statistics. Those built since 1983 score an average of C and those before 1900 have an average of E. Houses will always tend to have lower EPC scores than flats.


How can I improve my home’s energy rating?

There are lots of options to improve your home’s energy rating on your EPC, for example, it’s more energy efficient to insulate your home before you buy a new boiler, then you won’t need to use your boiler as much. Things like having double or triple-glazing windows will help to insulate your home and adding solar panels is another way to upgrade your EPC by generating your own power. 

The average cost of energy-efficiency improvements is about £8,100 per home according to a recent study Nationwide, for homes rated F to G that figure rises to £25,800. The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that a home with an EPC rating of C costs £300 less to run each year than a property with a D rating and £740 less than a home with an E rating, so over time it really can be a worthwhile investment. 


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