Energy Performance Certificates: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

Someone looking at EPC

By 6 min read


Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, a landlord or a tenant, it’s important to know what an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is.

First introduced to the UK in 2007, EPCs are now legally required in order for a building to be sold, let, or constructed – but what exactly are they?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about EPCs, including how they work, what they include, who needs to have one, and how you can get your hands on one.

Someone looking at EPC

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate has one main purpose: to show you how energy-efficient a building is.

The EPC provides a rating from A-G, with ‘A’ being very efficient and ‘G’ being inefficient. The certificate also tells you how expensive it will be to heat and light the property, as well as how high the building’s carbon dioxide emissions will be.

Below the overall rating, you’ll find recommendations on how you could reduce energy and save money around the building. Bear in mind that any figures on an EPC are not tailored to you, your housemates, or your lifestyle – instead, it will be targeted at a ‘typical’ household in that property.

If you do implement any of the recommendations outlined in the EPC, it’s definitely worth getting a new certificate to include these improvements.

How is an Energy Performance Certificate calculated?

As we mentioned earlier, EPCs provide a rating of A-G – but these scores aren’t just randomly assigned.

To calculate which energy-efficiency band a house falls under, an approved domestic energy assessor visits the property to trace potential energy loss sources. This process includes looking at how efficient the heating and water systems are, checking for insulation throughout the property, and searching for features like double glazing and energy-efficient light bulbs around the house.

Each segment of the inspection will be given a score, depending on how efficient it is and what condition it’s in. These scores are graded according to the following points system:

  • 92-100 points = EPC rating A
  • 81-91 points = EPC rating B
  • 69-80 points = EPC rating C
  • 55-68 points = EPC rating D
  • 39-54 points = EPC rating E
  • 21-38 points = EPC rating F
  • 1-20 points = EPC rating G

Once the assessor has carried out the inspection, they will then calculate how energy efficient the property is and will provide an EPC rating for your property.

Example of an EPC

An example of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating

Do you need an Energy Performance Certificate?

Yes, every property is required to have an EPC – the certificate needs to be available to potential buyers as soon as you put your property on the market.

The EPC is required by law in the commercial and residential sector, and is subject to increasingly strict guidelines. Legally, the certificate must also be provided by an approved domestic energy assessor.

Not only do you need an EPC, but you need to have a good rating on it, too. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which came into effect in April 2018, mandate that landlords with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ won’t be able to renew existing leases until they improve the property to a minimum of ‘E’.

This new standard now applies to all tenancies (since 1st April 2020), and is set to tighten further by 2030 when the minimum EPC band is set to rise to ‘B’.

Did You Know?

In Scotland, you must display the EPC somewhere in your property, such as in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler.

How do you get an Energy Performance Certificate?

In the UK, only accredited domestic energy assessors can produce valid EPCs.

 

How can you find an approved assessor?

If you’re selling your home through an agent, you should ask them to arrange for a Home Report, which will include an energy report and EPC.

How much does an Energy Performance Certificate cost?

Typically, the cost of an EPC can be anywhere between £35-£120. This can fluctuate a lot, depending on a few things, including:

  • The size of your house
  • The area where you live (for example, London will be more expensive than rural areas)
  • The type of property you live in
  • The number of bedrooms in your property

EPC costs also vary between individual assessors, so it’s a good idea to compare quotes and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

It’s also important to remember that if any tenants or potential buyers ask to see the EPC rating, you’re obligated to show them free of charge.

How long is an Energy Performance Certificate valid for?

Each EPC rating is valid for 10 years. Once the decade is up, you’re legally required to get a new one.

This is to ensure that buyers and renters can get an accurate, up-to-date reading of how energy-efficient the property is.

Do landlords have to provide an Energy Performance Certificate?

All landlords and letting agents are legally required to secure an EPC for any property they have. If a landlord fails to provide an EPC, they risk being fined quite a hefty sum.

Below, we’ve outlined the price of an EPC, compared to the cost of getting fined for not having one or having one below the minimum requirements:

EPC procedureAverage cost
EPC£35-£120
Fine for failing to get an EPC£200
Maximum cost of bringing your property to band E£3,500
Fine for failing to bring your property to band E£4,000

Data from Checkatrade

Do commercial buildings need an Energy Performance Certificate?

Yes – since early 2013, all commercial properties over 500 square metres, which are frequently visited by the public, need to display a valid EPC.

The certificate also needs to be in a prominent place and clearly visible to members of the public.

Summary

Getting an EPC is a walk in the park – once you get in touch with an approved assessor, you can put your feet up and let them do the hard work.

If you end up with a rating below what you were hoping for, fear not – there are things you can do to improve it. Try introducing a few energy-saving features to your home.

If you want to get a head start on this, check out our Eco Home Hub, where you can find a range of useful articles to help you.

Beth Howell Writer

Beth has a real passion for green living. She’s been absorbed in eco research for over three years, and has become quite the expert. Whether you’re after a new set of solar panels, a home energy improvement, or you want to catch the latest eco news, she’s got your back.