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Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Energy Performance CertificateThe Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives home owners, tenants and buyers information on the energy efficiency of their property. It gives the building a standard energy and carbon emission efficiency grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’, where ‘A’ is the most efficient and with the average to date being D.

What else does the certificate do?

EPCs are measured using the same calculations for all homes, so you can compare the energy efficiency of different properties.

Part of the EPC is a report which will list the potential rating that your home could achieve, if you made the recommended changes. The report lists:

  • Suggested improvements (such as fitting loft insulation)
  • The approximate cost
  • Possible cost savings per year if the improvements are made
  • How this would change the energy and carbon emission rating of the property

You can use this information to:

  • Cut your fuel bills
  • Improve energy performance in your home
  • Help cut carbon emissions
  • Help you choose a more energy efficient home to rent or buy

You do not have to act on the recommendations contained in the recommendation report. However, if you decide to do so, then it could make your property more attractive for sale or rent by making it more energy efficient. For more information on saving energy and eligibility for energy efficiency grants, follow the link below.

Does everyone need an EPC?

The EPC is required by law when a building is constructed, sold or put up for rent.

Sellers or Buyers of Homes

All sellers of homes need to ensure that they provide a Home Information Pack which includes an EPC for potential buyers. An EPC must be made available to a potential homebuyer – free of charge.

Builders

An EPC needs to be provided to buyers of newly built properties.

Landlords

If you are a landlord, you’ll need to make an EPC available to prospective tenants the first time you let a home after 1 October 2008. An EPC is only required for a property which is self-contained, and is valid for 10 years. An EPC isn’t required when a tenant rents a room and shares facilities.

Tenants

If you are interested in renting a property then an EPC must be made available to you free of charge. An EPC is only required for a property which is self-contained, and is valid for 10 years. If you are a prospective tenant, an EPC isn’t required when you rent a room and share facilities.

If you are not in one of the above categories

Even if you do not fall into the above categories, you can still apply for and receive an EPC. This may be because you want to know what the energy efficiency of your home is and implement improvements suggested by the recommendation report.

What a Report Contains

The certificate provides a rating for the building, showing its energy efficiency. The ratings are similar to those found on products such as fridges and are standard so the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of a similar type.

For homes, two ratings are shown.

1. The energy-efficiency rating is a measure of a home's overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.

2. The environmental impact rating is a measure of a home's impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - the higher the rating, the less impact it has on the environment.

Each rating is based on the performance of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting), rather than the domestic appliances within it. This is known as an asset rating. The certificate also lists the potential rating of the building if all the cost-effective measures were installed.

The ratings will vary according to the age, location, size and condition of the building. The potential rating on the certificate will take these factors into account, and the suggested measures will be tailored so that they are realistic for the particular building.

The certificate also includes a recommendation report, providing information about ways to improve the energy performance of the property. Recommendations include cost effective improvements and further improvements (that achieve higher standards but are not necessarily cost effective). For each improvement the level of cost, typical cost savings per year and the performance rating after improvement are listed. The potential rating shown on the certificate is based on all the cost effective recommendations being implemented.

In addition the EPCs must convey several other key pieces of information:

Reference Information
This includes the type of property (e.g. house, flat), the unique reference number (as stored in the central register) and date of the certificate.

Estimated Energy
UseThis is based on standardised assumptions about occupancy and heating patterns. An estimate of the current and potential energy use, carbon emissions and fuel costs for lighting, heating and hot water is provided. The actual energy use depends on the behaviour of the occupants.

Energy Assessor Details
This includes the assessor's name, accreditation number, company name (or trading name if self employed) and contact details.

Complaints
The certificate will provide information about how to complain or how to check the certificate is authentic.

Energy Advice
The certificate provides basic advice about energy efficient behaviour

How do you get an EPC?

EPCs can only be produced as a result of a survey by an ‘accredited’ Domestic Energy Assessor. EPCs are used to collect standard information on the property – for example, its size and hot water/heating systems. The information is then fed into a government-approved software programme which produces the EPC.

How much will it cost?

£80.00. Obtaining an EPC for an average sized home is likely to take the same time as a house valuation report which has to be prepared when a property is put up for sale. The exact time will vary from property to property. Certain public buildings must have a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) which contains similar information to an EPC, to enable visitors and users of the building to see its energy efficiency rating. From October 2008, owners of all commercial buildings also have to provide an EPC when they buy, sell or let commercial premises.

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