About the Energy Performance Certificate
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) graph shows how energy efficient a home or other building is, on a scale of A-G. The most efficient - which as a result should have the relatively lowest fuel bills - would be in band A, the least efficient in band G. The certificate also indicates, on the same scale of A-G, the impact on the environment. Better-rated properties should have less impact on the environment through lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Currently most properties in the UK will be in bands D or E for both ratings.
The full certificate also includes recommendations on ways to improve the property's energy efficiency, identifying potential money savings and benefits to the environment. Click here for an example of a complete EPC (PDF document, download free Adobe Reader if required).
If your property has been assessed and issued with an EPC then you can retrieve an electronic copy at any time. Simply go to www.epcregister.com where you can either enter the Report Reference Number printed on the certificate, or search on the property address.
Why do you need an Energy Performance Certificate?
An EPC shows the official energy efficiency rating of a property.
The certificate provides you with a rating for the building, showing its energy efficiency and its environmental impact. It also contains recommended ways to improve the building's energy performance, and an indication of the potential ratings if some or all of those improvements were to be implemented.
EPCs were introduced in accordance with the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in order to make visible and to help improve the energy efficiency of properties. An EPC was an integral part of every Home Information Pack (HIP); however, as of May 2010, the Government announced that HIPs would be abolished, although the Energy Performance Certificate is still legally required. This means that anyone selling or renting out a property is still required to commission an EPC, and failure to do so could result in a fine.
If you are not currently intending to sell or rent your property, you are not obliged to have an EPC or to do anything else. However, with fuel bills rising all the time, an EPC will be a useful indication of the potential energy savings you could make. Just some simple and cheap changes (e.g. fitting low energy light bulbs throughout your house) could reduce your fuel bills, and save the cost of the EPC survey within a few years.
How long will the EPC last?
Once surveyed and issued, an EPC will be valid for ten years.
However, if you make major energy saving improvements (e.g. installing a new central heating boiler) and intend to sell or rent out the property, it may be worth obtaining a new EPC. This will show a lower rating and will make the property more attractive to potential buyers or tenants.
Which buildings need an EPC?
An EPC is required when a building is constructed, rented or sold. A building will need an EPC if it has a roof and walls and uses energy to "condition an indoor climate". This means if it has any heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation. For example, a garden shed would not need an EPC if it doesn't have any heating.
The building can either be a whole building or a part of a building that has been designed or altered to be used separately. If a building is made up of separate units, each with its own heating system, each unit will need a separate EPC.
Which buildings do not need an EPC?
These buildings don't need an EPC in order to be built, rented or sold: