POSTED 05 April 2016

Energy Performance Certificates Explained

House Network

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 including: what they are, how they help you and how they can save you money.

What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives a property an energy efficiency rating. These range from A (the most energy efficient) to G (the least energy efficient). An EPC will last for 10 years.

It also gives you information on how you can improve the energy efficiency of your property, how much this work would cost (approximately) and how much money it would save you.

When do I need an EPC?

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 if you’re looking to either sell your home to a potential buyer or rent it out to a tenant, you must order an EPC for the new inhabitants. This must be done before you market the property, not after a deal has been agreed.

It isn’t necessary to display the EPC in a home in England, but it is in Scotland, so be sure not to fall foul of the legislation. The law states that, in Scotland, an EPC 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.

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. EPC ratings are crucial for home buyers and tenants alike, with the EPC report allowing them to make an informed decision on whether to buy or rent a property.

How do I get an EPC?

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

If you fail to get an EPC report, you could be fined. The person who is selling you the home, the landlord or the responsible letting agent must show you the EPC before you move in.

How much does an EPC cost?

Generally speaking, it will cost between £60 and £120 to get your property on the EPC register. Costs will always vary for an EPC cost so, because of this, it is well worth shopping around.

Having said this, it’s vital that you ensure your assessor is registered with a relevant authority otherwise your EPC certificate will be invalid. Generally speaking, it’s cheaper to get an EPC if you go direct for an assessment rather than going through an estate agent.

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 an EPC rating. 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

Can an EPC save me money?

In the long run an EPC can save you money, with an EPC rating giving you valuable advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of your property.

As well as telling you what measures you can undertake to improve your energy efficiency, an EPC rating can also tell you about the associated costs of carrying out the work and the savings you’ll make on your bills after you’ve made the upgrades.

How do I see another building’s EPC certificate?

It doesn’t cost you anything to see the EPC rating of another property and you can then compare that property’s energy performance of similar homes. You can either search by entering the property’s address or searching by the EPC report reference number.

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

Image courtesy of iStock