What is an energy performance certificate?

All industries have standards that have to be upheld – just think of your own job, and there will be practices in place that ensure safety, values and quality of service are upheld. The energy market is no different, and energy performance certificates (EPC) are use to measure the energy efficiency of buildings.

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What are EPCs?

EPCs are a rating system that is given to a home or building that states how efficient it is when it comes to energy usage. The grading goes from A - G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.

An energy efficient certificate allows homeowners, renters or buyers to judge how effective the home is at keeping energy consumption at an appropriate level. This becomes really helpful when you’re looking to tally up the associated costs of owning a home – the more energy efficient it is, the less you’ll spend on heating it.

Who needs an EPC?

There is a big difference between who needs an EPC certificate and who can get one. If you’re a landlord who is renting out a property, you’ll need to produce an EPC report. This is also the case if you’re selling your home, and you can’t legally sell your home without an EPC.

If you’re moving in to a new build home, you’ll be glad to know that your property will come complete with an EPC. If not, you’re well within your right to demand one takes place before you move in.

How to get an EPC

To get an EPC, you must go to an accredited surveyor. You can’t conduct one by yourself. The assessor has an industry-level standard that they use across all properties. If you’re selling your home and it doesn’t have an EPC, your estate agent may be able to suggest a surveyor, else you can look on the EPC Register for a list of recommendations.

How much does an EPC cost?

If you’re renting a home from a landlord, an EPC won’t cost you anything, as it’s the responsibility of the person who legally owns the home to keep its EPC up to date. If you’re interested in a property and it doesn’t have a certificate, then make sure you request that an assessment is done – as the potential buyer you should never pay for an EPC, it’s the responsibility of the seller.

If you’re a property owner, then you will have to foot the bill for an EPC, and you should be able to get one for between £60 and £150. Included in the energy performance certificate cost is a current and potential rating, as well as ideas on how you can improve your rating across the 10-year lifespan of the certificate.

What information is on an EPC?

There are a few pieces of key information on an EPC, including:

  • Property’s current rating - This could be anything from A - G, with the most efficient homes being A-rated.
  • Estimated costs – This includes information on how much it will cost to power the home across a certain period of time, as well as potential costs if the report’s energy-saving advice is implemented.
  • Summary – The summary will outline how features within your house fared in their ranking system.

All of this information is there to give you an idea of the energy efficiency standards of your home, or the home you’re considering buying, so you can make any necessary improvements to save energy and money.

All of this information is there to give you an idea of the energy efficiency standards of your home, or the home you’re considering buying, so you can make any necessary improvements to save energy and money.

How to raise your EPC band

When you get a certificate for your home, there will be specific guidance on changes you can make to improve energy efficiency and increase your band. This could be anything from insulation, to appliance upgrades and simple energy-saving tips, and you will receive straightforward advice once your assessment is complete.

Can an EPC affect feed-in tariff eligibility?

An EPC will affect your feed-in tariff eligibility as your certificate will help dictate which feed-in rate you are on. A feed-in tariff give cash back to properties who are creating their own green energy. For a greater chance of being on a higher tariff, you will want to be a grade D or above. Although beware, EPC isn’t the only factor to feed-in rates.

How to complain about your EPC

If you’re looking to complain about your EPC, you first need to approach whoever carried out the assessment. They will be able to explain more about the certificate, and why your property was given the grade it was. And their word is final.

If you want to take your complaint further, you can appeal to are RICS or the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), provided the agent who carried out the EPC is registered with one of them. Both agencies have a complaints procedure and the power to discipline estate agents who are acting inappropriately.

But the best thing to do if you’re not happy with the rating is to simply make the improvements recommended in the report. Once the work has been done, you’ll need to get another EPC that reflects the changes you’ve made, and hopefully shows a higher score.