Everything you need to know about your Energy Performance Certificate.

28 May 2023 | 3 min

You’ve probably seen one when you’ve been window-shopping on property websites or when you’ve bought a home. But what exactly is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and why is it important?

We’ve pulled together everything you need to know.

What is an EPC?

EPCs are ratings that tell you how energy efficient a building is, ranging from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). They tell you how expensive it will be to heat and light a property, and what its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions might be. In most cases there’s room for improvement, so your EPC will also include information on how you could give your score a boost.

Each letter grade comes with a score range – for example, a G is 20 and below, while an A is 92+ - and different improvements will add a varying number of points to your overall score. Installing a new condensing boiler could boost your score by up to 40 points, potentially moving your property from a G to a D.

How do I get my EPC rating?

You can check if your property already has an EPC rating through an online government service (use this one if you’re based in Scotland).

If the EPC register shows you don’t have one and you’re not planning on selling, you’ll need to use an accredited energy assessor to carry out a review for you. This should cost between £60 and £120, depending on the size of your house and whereabouts in the country you are.

If you’re selling your property, your estate agent can organise a new EPC for you, and you’ll need this within seven days of it going on the market.

What do assessors check for when calculating my EPC rating?

Energy assessors will need to visit your home in person, and will mainly look at windows, lighting, heating and insulation to come up with a score. They might also want to know what additional work has been done to the property since it was built.

They’ll also look at things like the age of the property, how it was built, how the building is heated and whether any hot water tanks are properly insulated to create an overall picture of the property and where improvements could be made.

EPCs don’t look at things that aren’t part of the structure of your home, like the number of people living there or appliances, so these won’t be factored into the estimated running costs the report gives you.

How long does an EPC last?

EPCs are valid for 10 years and you’ll need an up-to-date one if you want to sell or rent out your home.

They’re a legal requirement to sell a property and landlords can’t start a new tenancy without one. There are fines if you try to dodge the rules, so it’s worth making sure your EPC is in place to avoid unnecessary costs further down the line.

I don’t have a lot of money to spend on home improvements. How do I get my EPC rating up?

Small changes can make a big difference, especially when you make a few changes at once. For example, adding an extra layer of loft insulation costs from as little as £5 per m2 and will add plenty of points to your rating, and changing just one old fashioned incandescent lightbulb at a time for a low energy alternative will add up to EPC improvements and savings on your energy bill over time.

If you can afford bigger investments, like double or triple glazed windows, you could see your EPC score rise even quicker. Read our blog for six easy ways you can improve your energy efficiency rating.

I’m a landlord. Do I need to worry about my property’s EPC rating?

Yes, and perhaps even more so than a homeowner who lives in their property. New proposed rules mean minimum energy standards for rented properties will shift from an E rating to a C rating in the next couple of years, plus no new tenancy can start without an EPC check.

The new regulations are set to be introduced for new tenancies first from 2025, followed by all tenancies from 2028, and the cost of non-compliance could be a fine of up to £5,000 per property.

You can read more about EPC rules for landlords in our blog.

I’ve seen a house with a low EPC rating. Should I steer clear?

While a higher EPC rating should be a consideration when you’re buying a property, it is relatively easy to significantly boost a property’s score by making a few improvements.

If you’re willing to invest in things like better cavity wall insulation, new windows and a modern boiler, you could add real value to a property, so consider the improvements you could make and what you’re willing to spend to make them, and factor that into your buying decision.

Any property used as security, including your home, may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.

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