A Guide to Energy Performance Certificates

An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC is an assessment of the energy usage and overall energy efficiency of a building. The EPC was initially part of the Home Information Packs, however these as a whole were suspended in 2010 with just the EPC now being required.
An EPC is a legal requirement for anyone who is looking to sell or rent out their property, unless they fall under a property type which is exempt from the Housing Act 2004, such as non residential properties, listed buildings and residential buildings which are used for less than four months each year. All new build properties need to have an energy assessment conducted upon completion of the build. The inspection must be conducted by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) to ensure that a high standard, accurate investigation has been made. You can find a DEA by searching the EPC register, or by using sites like energyperformancecertificates.co.uk.
The energy performance certificates provide an array of useful information for those buying or renting a property. Being aware of the energy usage of the property and any potential energy inefficiencies the property may have is one step towards taking action in improving the property’s energy rating. The potential running costs of a property can be estimated from an EPC and this could be compared to other properties a buyer is considering, or their current property. Areas which are assessed during an inspection include the boiler and hot water tank, radiators, windows and loft insulation. The investigation is non invasive with no damage or internal changes being made to the property.
An energy performance certificate contains two energy efficiency charts which can give a quick visual representation of the performance of the home.
These are similar to those which are found on new home electrical appliances and combining the two will give a somewhat accurate picture of the energy used in the running of the home. The charts include an Energy Efficiency Rating, with the current rating marked between A (very energy efficient with lower running costs) and G (not energy efficient with high running costs) alongside the current rating, a potential rating will also be noted. This potential rating could be achieved if the recommendations regarding the property, noted in the report were followed. These include the likes of improving or installing double or triple glazed windows and improving the insulation in the roof space and pipes. There is also an Environmental Impact Rating chart which rates the carbon dioxide emissions from a property. The ratings once again go from A (very environmentally friendly with low carbon dioxide emissions) to G (not environmentally friendly with high carbon dioxide emissions) with the potential rating for the property also identified.
It has been suggested by the Energy Saving Trust that if homeowners were to follow the recommendations which are included in the Energy Performance Certificate in order to increase the energy efficiency of their home they could make savings of up to £300 per year.