An Energy Performance Certificate or EPC, is a document that provides an energy efficiency rating for buildings in the UK. The rating is on a scale from A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient and G being the least.
An EPC provides two key pieces of information:
The energy efficiency rating (relating to running costs) of the property. This is based on factors like insulation, heating and hot water systems, ventilation, and fuels used. The better the rating, the more energy-efficient the property is considered to be. This is beneficial not only for the environment but also can mean lower energy bills.
The environmental impact rating (relating to carbon dioxide emissions) of a property. This looks at how much CO2 the home will produce and again rates it from A to G.
The EPC will also include recommendations on ways to improve the property's energy efficiency, such as installing insulation or upgrading the heating system, which in turn could save you money.
In the UK, an EPC is required whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. For landlords, there are regulations regarding minimum energy efficiency standards that must be met, and these are tied to the EPC rating. As of April 2020, landlords cannot rent out a property with an EPC rating below E to new tenants or renew existing tenancies unless they qualify for an exemption.
Following a consultation in December 2020, the UK government has announced plans to increase the minimum EPC rating from E to C. This will apply to all newly let rentals from 2025, and to existing rental agreements from 2028.
Making your property more efficient
Improving your home's energy efficiency not only helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions but can also lower your energy bills. Here are some of the most common ways to make your home more energy efficient in the UK:
Insulation: Proper insulation can reduce heat loss in your home. Consider insulating your loft, walls (cavity or solid), and floors to keep the heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer.
Energy-Efficient Appliances: Look for appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings when buying new ones. A-rated appliances use less energy and can save you money.
LED Lights: LED light bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs. Replacing your bulbs can be a quick and easy way to save energy.
Smart Thermostats: These devices allow you to control your heating and hot water remotely, making it easier to ensure you only heat your home when necessary.
Double Glazing: Double-glazed windows can greatly reduce heat loss and noise. If you can't afford to replace all your windows, consider heavy curtains or thermal blinds.
Energy-Efficient Boiler: If your boiler is old, replacing it with a new, energy-efficient model could significantly reduce your energy usage.
Solar Panels: By installing solar panels, you can generate your own renewable energy, reducing your reliance on the grid.
Draught-Proofing: Simple measures like blocking gaps around windows, doors, loft hatches, and pipework can prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from escaping.
Use of Renewable Energy: Consider systems like air source heat pumps or biomass boilers, which utilise renewable energy and can be more efficient.
Water-Saving Devices: Using devices like low-flow showerheads and tap aerators can reduce your hot water usage, saving both water and energy.
What is an EPC rating?
An EPC rating is a measure of a property's energy efficiency, scored on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
When is an EPC needed?
An EPC is required when a property is built, sold, or rented in the UK. You must order an EPC for potential buyers or tenants before you market your property to sell or rent.
Who is responsible for getting an EPC?
The property owner is responsible for obtaining an EPC. If you're renting, it's your landlord's responsibility to get an EPC.
How long is an EPC valid?
An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date it was issued.
What does an EPC tell me?
An EPC provides information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, and recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.
Does an EPC include recommendations for improvements?
Yes, EPCs include recommendations on how you could improve your home’s energy efficiency, which can range from installing double glazing to adding insulation.
What if my property has a low EPC rating?
If your property has a low EPC rating (F or G), you may need to make improvements to enhance its energy efficiency. For landlords, as of April 2020, it is illegal to rent out a property with an EPC rating below E to new tenants or renew existing tenancies unless they qualify for an exemption.
How can I improve my EPC rating?
You can improve your EPC rating by implementing the recommendations provided in the EPC report. This could include tasks like improving insulation, upgrading the boiler, or installing energy-efficient lighting.
Where can I find an accredited person to perform an EPC assessment?
You can find an accredited energy assessor to conduct an EPC assessment by searching online or asking for recommendations from local estate agents.
What is the penalty for not having an EPC?
The penalty for failing to make an EPC available to prospective buyers or tenants can be a fine, typically amounting to 12.5% of the rateable value of the building, with a default penalty of £750.
Please note that as regulations can change over time, it's always a good idea to check the most current information through the UK Government website.