An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document which provides a visual statement of your home’s energy efficiency. Much like the colourful stickers you will see on appliances, the EPC is designed to give a quick reference as to how much the house is likely to cost to run.
Obtaining an EPC can be a legal requirement in some circumstances, and even if you are not obliged to get one, it can be a good thing to do. It will give you an indication of the energy efficiency of your home in its current state, as well as how efficient it could be if you carried out work to the property.
What does an EPC tell you?
The information contained in an EPC will tell you how your property performs now in terms of energy consumption, as well as how it may perform in the future if you were to make improvements. The assessment rates the property on how much energy is used per square metre of floor area, as well as its CO2 emissions and running costs based on the cost of the fuels currently used.
The information gathered by the assessment is displayed on colourful charts, to give you an ‘at a glance’ insight into how your home performs:
The ratings for both energy efficiency and environmental impact are divided into seven bands, ranked from A to G. The closer to A your property achieves, the better it is performing on that scale. This is accompanied by a numerical rating of 1 to 100, with the bigger number indicating a more efficient home with lower running costs.
Next to the current rating of your property is a second rating, indicating the ‘potential’ rating of the house if certain measures are undertaken. These are detailed in the ‘recommendations’ section, which goes into more detail about the work you can do to your home.
London Permaculture / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The recommendations section also contains information on how much you are likely to save, how much the measure is likely to cost, and whether you might be able to secure finance under the Green Deal to help towards the expense.
The final piece of information to be aware of is the estimated fuel costs section. Here, the EPC assessor will have used standardised assumptions about your property, taking into account the number of people living there, the geographical location and the typical heating patterns, in order to estimate the cost of running the home.
Here you’ll be able to see the current estimated cost of running your home over three years, alongside the potential reduction in running costs if you take up the measures outlined in the recommendations. Costs are based on the current price of fuel, so if you are buying or renting a home, be sure to check the date the certificate was issued as fuel prices can increase dramatically over a few years.
Who needs an EPC?
EPC’s are mandatory for anyone who is selling or renting out a home. New build properties are also required by law to have an EPC assessment before someone moves in. You should be given an EPC if you are thinking about buying a property, and should not be made to pay for it. Similarly if you are thinking about renting a house, your landlord or letting agent should give you an EPC for the property free of charge. If you are renting a room in a shared home, you probably will not be given an EPC.
For those looking to make improvements to their home and wanting to use the Green Deal to help with funding, you will need to have an EPC issued as part of your Green Deal Assessment. You will need a Green Deal Assessment if you are planning on claiming the Domestic RHI and to qualify you will need to be able to obtain a domestic EPC and complete any suggested improvements to insulation. People considering installing solar photovoltaics will also need an EPC and a rating of D or better in order to claim payments from the Feed in Tariff (FIT).
How to get an EPC
EPC assessments are carried out by accredited domestic energy assessors (DEA). DEA’s come in all shapes and sizes. If you are selling or renting your home, your estate agent may have an energy assessor who works for them. Assessors can also be self-employed, can be employed by local councils or can work for insulation and renewable energy companies. You can use the EPC register website to find your own local DEA, or can search online or in the phonebook if you prefer. If you are having an EPC done as part of your Green Deal Assessment, your Green Deal provider will allocate an assessor to you.