What is an EPC and When do I Need One?

by Rizwan Osman on 3rd February 2020

If you’re selling or renting out your home, you need an energy performance certificate (EPC) – and, for landlords, your home needs to meet a certain standard before you can sign an agreement with tenants. Read our guide to everything you need to know about EPCs.

What is an EPC and when do I need one?

With global warming rarely out of the news, cutting our environmental impact is everybody’s business in 2020. Energy inefficient buildings are a major source of carbon emissions, but there are simple steps you can take to improve your home energy use.

EPCs measure how energy efficient your home is and are an essential part of marketing your property for sale or rent.

If you are selling, a good EPC rating can be a powerful marketing tool, as it’s a good indication that the property will be warm and efficient to heat with lower energy bills.

For landlords EPCs are even more crucial. Since 2018 it has been a legal requirement that domestic properties meet the minimum energy efficiency standard of an EPC E rating before they can be rented out. This currently applies to new tenancies but from April this year it will apply to existing ones too.


What is an EPC?

Homeowners and landlords must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before marketing a property for sale or rent.

EPC home reports contain:

  • Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. You will need to appoint an accredited assessor to carry out the EPC inspection and your estate agent or letting agent must be given a copy of the report.

The EPC inspection takes less than an hour and includes an internal and external assessment. Qualified domestic energy assessors will inspect or measure the property’s:

  • Exterior walls
  • Roof insulation
  • Floor
  • Windows
  • Open fireplaces
  • Boiler
  • Lighting
  • Heating system
  • Heating controls
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Ventilation system
  • Conservatory and extension.


EPC register

You can look at the EPCs of other properties free of charge by visiting the online EPC register. This lets you compare your home’s energy performance with that of similar properties. You can search by the property’s address or by the EPC’s report reference number.


Listed buildings

If you own a listed building, you may find it difficult to make energy efficient adaptations without altering the character of your property. If you are renting out your listed building, so long as you can prove that you’ve implemented as many measures as possible to improve energy efficiency, you may be exempt from achieving an E rating. You should, however, get advice from your local authority conservation officer first.


Leasehold properties

If you own a leasehold property, you may need to contact the freeholder about energy efficient changes, which affect the structure of the property. Always check the provisions in the lease.


Ways to improve your property’s EPC rating

To improve your EPC rating, first examine your existing EPC report. The recommendations page will list measures you can take to improve the energy performance of the property.

In addition, there are five things you could do to improve your rating:


1. Replace your light bulbs with LEDs

Replace your halogen spotlights with LED bulbs – these energy saving lights are a cheap and easy way to up your EPC rating.

2. Check your insulation

A quarter of household heat is lost through the roof, but loft insulation is easy to install and relatively inexpensive.


3. Install double glazing

Single glazed windows can be responsible for 40% of the heat loss in your house. Modern high-performance double glazing will make a significant difference to the energy efficiency of a home.


4. Replace the boiler

The heating system accounts for a large chunk of a property’s energy use. If you have an old, inefficient boiler, a new one could make a big impact on your EPC and cut heating bills substantially.


5. Consider green energy adaptations

Adding solar panels or other innovative measures, such as biomass boilers, can really improve your EPC score and are essential if you’re aiming for the highest rating possible.


Find out more

Find out more about energy efficiency and EPCs on the government website gov.uk.


If you’re thinking of selling or renting out property in Tooting, Balham, Clapham or Streatham, contact us today for more advice about EPCs and other aspects of marketing your home.