Energy Performance Certificates Explained

by Rizwan Osman on 7th June 2021

If you’re selling or renting out your home, you need an energy performance certificate.

Energy performance certificate explained

What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC for short, is a report that assesses the energy efficiency of a property. It includes an estimation of the energy costs for your home and a breakdown of the energy performance of critical features of your home.

An EPC report also including recommendations of how you could improve your properties energy performance, along with the estimated cost of the change, the estimated annual savings and the potential rating you could achieve.

Your property will be given an overall rating between A and G. This will be displayed on a graph like the one below. This graph will also show the properties potential rating if all the recommendations are carried out.

Credential EPC Example

When do I need an EPC?

Homeowners and landlords must order an EPC before marketing a property for sale or rent. The EPC certificate allows potential buyers and tenants to compare energy costs between homes they are viewing.

Even if you are not selling, it can still be helpful to obtain an EPC for your property. You can use the information to make your home more environmentally friendly and cut your fuel bills. With residential property accounting for almost 30% of carbon emissions in the UK, cutting the environmental impact of our homes is everybody’s business.

What is checked during an EPC inspection?

EPC’s must be carried out by an accredited assessor. The EPC inspection takes less than an hour and includes an internal and external assessment of the following aspects of your property:

  • Exterior and interior walls
  • Roof
  • Floor
  • Windows
  • Heating system and controls
  • Lighting
  • Hot water system

How much does an EPC cost?

An EPC costs between £60 and £120, depending on the size and type of property. It is worth shopping around and comparing different quotes.

If you are selling or renting out your property through an estate and letting agent, they can arrange an EPC inspection. You can also source your own domestic energy assessor from the government’s register.

Does my property have an EPC?

An EPC certificate lasts ten years. If you are unsure whether yours has expired, you can quickly check by typing your address into the government register. You can use this register to check any properties EPC, allowing you to compare your rating with similar properties in your area.

EPCs for Landlords

For landlords, EPCs are even more crucial. Since April 2020, landlords are forbidden under law from renting or continuing to rent their property if they have an EPC rating below E.

Landlords whose properties are rated F or G must improve their rating to E or above or register an exemption. You will never be expected to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) on energy improvements. If you cannot improve your property to an EPC rating of E for £3,500, you should make all the improvements up to that amount, then register an ‘all improvements made’ exemption.

Landlords can be fined up to £4,000 for renting out a non-compliant property.

The government have pledged to increase the minimum EPC score to C for privately rented homes by 2030.

What an EPC doesn’t tell you

An EPC is about the building and not about how the current residents live. If you live a low energy lifestyle, this will not be accounted for in the EPC rating. For instance, you may turn off lights and equipment when not in use, manage your heating efficiently, or choose low energy appliances. The estimated heating, lighting and hot water bills are based on the ‘average’ household and not on the actual energy consumption of the current occupants.

An EPC also won’t reflect any changes made since the inspection date. If you have made changes that you think may have improved your rating, you will need to pay for a new inspection.

Five ways to improve your properties EPC rating

The recommendations page of your EPC report will list measures you can take to improve the property’s energy performance.

Improve your EPC rating

Here are five things that will often crop up:

1. Add internal or external insulation

Upgrading your roof installation or cavity wall insulation is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your properties energy efficiency.

2. Install low energy lighting

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

3. Add green energy sources

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.

4. Replace your 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. Install double or triple glazing

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

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.