Everything you need to know about EPCs

If you’re selling or renting out a residential or commercial property, you’ll need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for it.
EPCs were introduced by the government in 2007 to encourage people to make their properties more energy efficient. This is because in the UK, about 22% of carbon emissions come from our homes, through things like heating, lighting, and running household appliances.
A home that scores highly on energy efficiency should lead to cheaper bills so checking a property’s EPC is a good idea when you are looking to buy or rent.

Here’s everything you need to know about EPCs:

What is an EPC?

An EPC is a report drawn up by an accredited domestic energy assessor. They will visit a property to check how much energy it takes to power it and keep it warm.
A property’s energy rating looks like the sticker you might find on an appliance such as a fridge, and ranges from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
The property will also be given a score out of 100. The higher the number, the lower your energy bills are likely to be.

What requirements does an EPC check involve?

The EPC assesses whether there are potential sources of draughts, or where heat can escape. This includes requirements such as checking how well insulated your floors and walls are, if your windows are double glazed, and how much heat is retained in your home. Electrical systems and use of energy efficient light bulbs will also be checked.
An EPC also gives recommendations about how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, and the potential grade your property could reach if you choose to make improvements.

How long does an EPC last?

An EPC lasts for 10 years and will cover the property for that period, no matter how many times it’s sold or rented out. If you’ve made improvements since moving into it, such as installing energy efficient lighting, this won’t be reflected in the EPC until you order a new assessment.

How can I find out the energy rating for my property?

It’s easy to find out what the current rating is if you don’t know or aren’t sure. The government has set up a register of EPC certificates, so if it has been assessed, you can look it up online here.

How do I get an EPC?

Find a qualified assessor through the government’s website here.

How much do they cost?

Costs vary depending on where you live, and the size of the property. It will also depend on how long it takes to be assessed, so bigger properties will incur higher fees. On average, it costs between £60 and £70, according to the Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA).
EPC costs for new-build residential homes tend to be higher than older properties as they require more detailed assessments.

Who pays for an EPC?

If you’re selling your home, it’s your responsibility to obtain and pay for an EPC to give to your estate agent, and potential buyers. Landlords also need to provide the EPC to potential tenants, and for new-build homes, the builder must provide an EPC on completion.

Is an EPC a legal requirement?

Yes. If you plan to sell your home, rent it out to new tenants, or build a new home, you’ll need an EPC. If your home doesn’t have a valid EPC, you’ll need show your estate agent you’ve commissioned one before your home is listed.
It’s illegal for landlords to rent out a home with an EPC rating below E, without a valid exemption. A landlord should provide their tenants with a copy of the certificate when they move in. Tenants can also request consent from the landlord to make further energy-efficiency improvements to the property, but these will be at the tenant’s own cost unless the landlord agrees to contribute.
Listed buildings are also exempt if they reach certain standards for energy performance.

How does my property’s energy rating compare to others?

Homes in England and Wales currently have an average energy rating of D, and an average score of 60.
Generally, properties built after 2012 have an average EPC rating of B, according to the Office of National Statistics. Those built since 1983 score an average of C, but those built before 1900 have an average rating of E. And houses tend to have lower EPC scores than flats.

Can I improve my home’s energy rating?

There are lots of options for improving a property’s energy rating on its EPC. These step-by-step recommendations are given in order, to help you to potentially save the most energy.
For example, it’s more energy efficient to insulate your home before you buy a new boiler, as you won’t have to use your boiler as much.
Adding solar panels is another way to upgrade your EPC, by generating your own power.

How much can energy-efficiency improvements cost?

It depends on the size of your home. The average cost of energy-efficiency improvements is about £8,100 per home, according to a recent study by Nationwide. For homes rated F or G, that figure rises to £25,800.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says a home with an EPC rating of C costs £300 less to run each year than a property with a rating of D, and £740 less than a home with an E rating.