If you’re thinking of selling your home or you’re renting out a property, one document you’ll hear mentioned frequently is the EPC.
Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about EPCs and outline some of the things you can do to improve your property’s energy efficiency…
What does EPC stand for?
EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate and is a document you’ll need to produce if you want to sell or rent out a property.
What is an EPC?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows a buyer or renter how energy efficient your property is and offers a projection of how much the property could cost to run.
EPCs were introduced in 2007 as a legal requirement for any home being let out or sold and are part of a drive to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Operating buildings is said to be responsible for 28% of all CO2 emissions globally.
An EPC is split into several different sections:
Estimated running costs
The EPC will outline a projected cost for running the property over a three-year period, taking into account lighting, heating and hot water.
Energy Efficiency Rating
The main section on an EPC shows the current Energy Efficiency Rating of the property and a potential rating if certain changes or upgrades were made.
Top actions to save money and make your home more energy efficient
The EPC’s final section makes recommendations on how you can make your property more energy efficient and save money on your fuel bills.
The EPC will show the projected cost of any improvements and the typical savings over a three-year period.
What is an EPC rating?
The main section of the EPC shows both a current and projected Energy Efficiency Rating for your property.
The rating runs from A to G – with A being the most energy efficient rating and G the lowest.
The further your property is away from an A rating, the more it will cost to run and the higher your bills will be.
The average rating for a UK property is currently D.
How do you get an EPC and what is the EPC register?
To obtain an EPC, you’ll need to have your property assessed by a qualified domestic energy assessor.
To find an assessor in your area, log on to the government’s official EPC register.
You’re not legally required to have a valid EPC unless you’re selling or renting out your property.
But by having an EPC assessment carried out, you’ll find out how energy efficient your home is and how you could improve it.
How long does an EPC last?
EPCs last for 10 years.
If you’re selling your property and your EPC is still valid, you don’t need to do anything other than provide the EPC to your buyer.
For landlords renting out a property, you also have to provide a valid EPC for your tenants and your property must have at least an E rating in order for it to be legally let. If your EPC has expired, or you’ve never had an assessment carried out, you’ll need to arrange one before you can legally market your property for sale or for rent.
How much does an EPC cost?
The cost of an EPC assessment can vary depending on the size of your property and the kind of property it is.
Most EPC assessments are less than £100 but it’s always best to obtain a few quotes from different assessors.
The assessment process is the same, regardless of the assessor, so always go for the cheapest option.
Who is responsible for an EPC?
The owner of a property is responsible for ensuring they have a valid EPC when selling or renting out their property.
However, if you are selling or letting your home, your estate agent should always be able to help with arranging an EPC assessment.
Can an EPC be done remotely?
EPC assessments can be booked online, but the actual assessment itself must be carried out in person by a qualified assessor.
The assessor will:
• Establish the age of your property and its construction method
• Measure the floor and wall spaces
• Look at heating systems, including your boiler and controls
• Establish if your property has cavity wall or loft insulation
• Explore any other alternative heating systems, such as solar panels, and energy efficient products, like energy saving bulbs
Can you fail an EPC assessment?
There’s no ‘pass’ and ‘fail’ system for EPCs – only the grading of your property’s energy efficiency from A-G.
However, if you’re renting out your property, it must have an EPC rating of at least E in order to be legally let.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation has been in place since 2018 and now applies to all tenancies.
And while there’s no stipulation on EPC ratings when selling your home, buyers pay close attention to EPCs and you may find it harder to sell if your rating is low. A low EPC rating could also affect your property’s value – with the value of homes carrying an F or G rating potentially being 14% less than those with an A or B rating.
How to improve your EPC rating
If you’re a landlord renting out a property with a low EPC rating or you’re selling your home and want to make some energy efficiency improvements before you do, here are some steps you can take…
1. Wall and roof insulation
New, modern insulation can make a huge difference to your property’s energy efficiency rating.
Heat rises, so boosting your loft or roof insulation could help you save up to 25% of the heat lost through your property.
If you live in a more modern property, cavity wall insulation is a great way to add a protective heat loss layer to your home’s walls, while solid wall insulation is a good option if your property was built before the 1920s and has solid brick walls.
Solid wall insulation is more expensive than cavity wall and can cost thousands of pounds, but cavity wall insulation can often be done for between £400 and £700.
2. Double or triple glazing
Around 20% of the heat in your home can be lost through windows – but double or even triple glazed windows can drastically reduce that.
Most modern homes have double glazing installed, but if you live in an older property, a few thousand pounds spent on new, energy efficient window units could improve your EPC rating and save you money on your bills.
3. An energy efficient boiler
Your heating system can have a big impact on your property’s energy efficiency.
And if your boiler is inefficient, it could be having a major effect on your EPC rating.
Boilers don’t come cheap, but in the long term, a modern, energy efficient boiler will pay for itself through reduced heating bills.