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When buying, renting or building a home, Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are very important as they provide a rating for how much energy our homes use, which can help us to understand the impact they have on the environment.

Understanding the certificates is key for those who own a home, and those wanting to buy one. EPCs are becoming more and more significant as the government continues to review energy legislation and strive for net-zero carbon emissions across the UK.

What are energy performance certificates (EPC)?

EPCs are produced following a home assessment by an energy assessor who will visually inspect it including the heating systems, roof, walls and more.

Rated on a scale from A to G, with grade A being the most energy efficient, the certificate provides a detailed description of the property’s current rating along with suggestions for improvement. A good EPC rating means that the house will produce fewer carbon emissions and contribute less towards climate change.

You can get domestic EPCs, commercial EPCs or display energy certificates, depending on the type of property being assessed.

When were energy certificates introduced and what is their purpose?

In England and Wales, EPCs were introduced in August 2007 to make sure prospective home buyers and sellers were aware of the energy efficiency of their properties. They evaluate the characteristics of a building to determine whether or not it is efficient in its energy usage.

An EPC is not a safety measure of a building, but instead, an assessment of its energy efficiency.

EPCs legislation for landlords

From April 2018, it became a legal requirement that residential landlords must provide an EPC rating of at least E for their property. This was initially for new tenants undertaking new tenancy agreements, however from April 2023, all landlords with new and previous tenancies will need to provide an EPC with a rating of E or above.

With the government committing to a 68% reduction in carbon emission by 2030, from 2025 new EPC regulations are suggested to require rented properties to have an EPC rating of C and above - making understanding EPCs more important than ever for landlords.

How to read a domestic energy performance certificate

Although all EPCs don’t look the same, a domestic EPC should include the following information:

Current and potential energy ratings

This section of the EPC includes the current cost of energy the property requires along with what the potential cost could be if improvements were made. Underneath, there will then be the EPC rating with suggestions of home improvements and steps you can take to reach the property’s potential energy rating. This includes some ‘Top Actions’ that you can follow that will not only make your house more energy efficient but could save you money, too.

Summary of performance

Next, the EPC will include a summary of performance which breaks down each section of the property with a rating for each out of five stars. This includes sections such as the walls, roof, windows and the other areas that the assessor examines. This section also includes the property’s heating performance including the amount of energy it is expected to use up to heat both the space and the water within the property.

Suggestions for improvement

Having provided an understanding of the property’s current energy situation, the EPC then moves on to providing suggestions and changes that can be taken to improve the EPC rating. The information provides estimates of cost for the improvements as well as the impact each improvement would have on the property’s overall energy efficiency overall.

How do I get an EPC?

It is the responsibility of the person selling the property or its owner to provide an EPC to prospective buyers and tenants. The assessment for an EPC needs to be provided by an energy assessor who is accredited by a professional scheme.

How long does an energy performance certificate last/ do EPCs expire?

Once an EPC has been provided for a property, it is then valid for 10 years.

Energy Performance Certificates are a key way to gain advisory measures to improve a property’s EPC. If you’re looking for other ways you can make your property or home more energy efficient then take a read of our article: How to make your home more energy efficient

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