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POSTED 05 April 2016 General

Energy Performance Certificates Explained

If you’re looking to buy or rent a property, then one of your largest outgoings after rent or mortgage payments is likely to be energy costs.

Over the course of your time in the property, the cost of energy will have a large impact, particularly if energy prices continue to rise. But, how can you know how much energy your home will consume?

This is where Energy Performance Certificates come in. In this blog, we answer all your questions about Energy Performance Certificates and their ratings including what they are, how they help you and how they can save you money.

What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides an energy efficiency rating for a property. It also gives more information on energy use, how much this work would cost (approximately) and ways to save money.

What does an EPC contain?

An EPC contains vital information about how energy efficient your property is. Energy performance certificates contain:

  • Information about a property’s usage and the typical energy costs for it
  • Recommendations about how you can reduce the amount of energy used and reduce your costs in the process.

The Government also has an EPC adviser service so that you can check how to make your home more energy efficient.

Property Details

The first information usually provided on a property's EPC are the details of the property including:

  • Address,
  • Type of property
  • Assessment and certificate
  • Floor area (m2)

epc property information 


Estimated energy costs and potential costs

The next section provides details about the current energy costs at the property and what these costs could be in the future if the property attains its potential energy performance rating. It covers the current and potential costs over a 3 year period of the:

  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Hot water 

Be aware though that these estimates don't take into account any other appliance or gadget that consumes energy in the home. 

epc energy costs and potential 


Actions to help save money 

The certificate also provides recommendations on what areas of the property can be improved and by doing so what savings can be made. Typical areas that can be improved include:

  • Loft insulation
  • Wall insulation
  • Draught proofing
  • Solar panels and heating
  • Boiler upgrade 
  • Low energy lighting and LEDs

epc recommendations 


What is an EPC rating? 

The EPC rating is a proprietary grading given based on the energy performance review. Scales range from A (the most energy efficient) to G (the least energy efficient) with the average rating in the UK being between C and E. It only takes between 40mins to an hour for one to be created and they last for 10 years.

The rating is usually calculated based on the property's energy output (per m2) and the level of CO2 emissions per year.

 epc ratings

When is an EPC needed?

An EPC is needed whenever a property is:

  • Built as a new home
  • Sold to a new homeowner
  • Rented out to a tenant

This means that any property owners looking to either sell or rent their home must provide a valid EPC for the new inhabitants. This must be done before you market the property and not after a deal has been agreed. If purchased or rented within the last 10 years, then there is a chance the EPC for the property is still valid, you can check the EPC register to 'Retrieve an Energy Performance Certificate'.

It isn’t necessary to display it in a home in England, but it is in Scotland, so be sure not to fall foul of the legislation. The law in Scotland states that an energy performance certificate must be displayed somewhere in the property. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in an open area, and it can be either in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler.

How do I get an EPC?

Getting an EPC is simple. When you’re selling or renting a property, you’ll have to find an accredited energy assessor who will then assess the energy efficiency of your property and provide you with a certificate that proves their assessment.

How much does an EPC cost?

Generally speaking, prices can vary from £60 - £120 depending on whether third-party accreditors or an estate agent is being utilised. Because of this, it is well worth shopping around unless you can find a selling bundle deal. Here at House Network, an EPC only cost £75 (including VAT).

Does every building need an EPC certificate?

Although the vast majority of household dwellings need an EPC certificate, this isn’t true for all buildings. Certain buildings do not require one, these include:

  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings that will not be used for a period of 2 years or longer
  • Standalone buildings that have a total usable floor space of under 50 square meters
  • Industrial sites, workshops, and non-residential agricultural buildings that do not use a lot of energy
  • Some buildings that are due to be demolished shortly
  • Holiday accommodation that is rented out for under 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy
  • A listed building – seek advice from your local authority
  • Residential buildings that are intended to be used for under 4 months a year

If you do not want anyone else to be able to see your EPC rating, you can opt out of the EPC register here.