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Energy performance certificates

All you need to know about EPCs

Emma Spencer
Written by  Emma Spencer
5 min read
Updated: 07 Feb 2024

You’ll need an Energy Performance certificate to sell or rent your property.

Understanding the ins and outs of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) can be a game-changer for homeowners and prospective buyers alike. These documents are not just pieces of paper; they are passports to understand a property's energy efficiency and potential savings.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC is a comprehensive review of a property's energy efficiency. It's a four-page document that rates a property from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) using a colour-coded traffic light system.

This isn't just about how green you are; it's about the green in your wallet, too. An EPC provides an estimate of heating and power costs, along with the property's carbon dioxide emissions.

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The ABCs of EPC Ratings

  • A to G ratings: Just like school grades, but for your house. A is top of the class, and G means there's room for improvement

  • Numerical scores: These range from 0-100, with higher scores indicating a property that's kinder to both the environment and your bank account

  • Current and potential scores: The EPC shows where you are now and where you could be after some energy-efficient upgrades

  • Recommendations: From loft insulation to LED lights, the EPC gives tailored advice on how to boost your rating

When do you need an EPC?

Whether you're selling your cosy cottage or renting out a city flat, you'll need an EPC within seven days of putting the property on the market.

Since 2008, it's been the law in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and a year later Scotland joined the party. Ignore this, and you could be hit with a fine of up to £5,000.

No EPC, no deal

  • Commercial properties: Not just homes, but businesses too need an EPC when they change hands or tenants

  • Major improvements: If you've been on a green makeover spree, it's a good idea to update your EPC to reflect these changes

How to get your hands on an EPC

Getting an EPC is straightforward. It must be performed by an accredited domestic energy assessor, which you can find through the government’s official EPC register. If you're working with estate or letting agents, they'll usually take care of this for you.

Can you get an EPC online?

While you can book an assessment online, an actual person needs to visit your property to conduct the survey. However, if you're just looking to check if your property already has an EPC, or you need to download a copy, you can do so via the EPC register here.

Understanding EPC exemptions and costs

Not every building will need an EPC. There are certain EPC exemptions for business premises, as laid out by the government. This includes listed buildings and places of worship, among others.

When it comes to costs, EPCs vary but typically start at around £60. It’s worth getting quotes from a few energy assessors in your area, which you can source from the EPC register.

The EPC landscape

  • Pass or fail? There's no 'fail' in EPC land, but if you're renting out, you'll need at least an E rating

  • Letting with low ratings: If your property scores an F or G, you'll need to make improvements before you can rent it out

  • Validity: EPCs are good for 10 years, so check if yours is still up to date

  • Finding your EPC: Lost your EPC? No problem. The EPC register has you covered

Questions and concerns

If something doesn't add up with your EPC, or you're just curious about the details, the first port of call should be the energy assessor listed on the certificate. If you're still at sea, the accreditation scheme listed on the EPC will be your lighthouse.

In the end, an Energy Performance Certificate is more than a bureaucratic necessity; it's a roadmap to a more energy-efficient and cost-effective future for your property. Whether you're a homeowner, landlord, or business owner, understanding and utilising the insights from an EPC can lead to significant savings and a smaller carbon footprint. So, take the time to get acquainted with your EPC – it's a document that pays dividends in more ways than one.

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