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What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

When you buy or rent a home, the property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which details its energy efficiency. Providing an EPC is a legal requirement for anyone building, selling or renting out a property in the UK. Here, we’ll detail what an EPC is, how to interpret it and why having one in your home is beneficial.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC uses a rating system from A to G to determine how energy efficient your property is. An A-rated property is the most energy efficient while a G-rated property is the least energy efficient. This rating gives you an idea of how much it costs to power your home, with your fuel bills costing you a lot more the lower the rating.

As well as the current energy efficiency rating for your home, the EPC includes approximate energy costs for the heating, lighting and hot water. It also details energy performance-related information for features that include the roof, walls and windows. Recommendations are provided on how to make your home in Bexleyheath more energy efficient along with the costs involved and the potential savings you could make on your fuel bills with these changes.

Each EPC lasts for 10 years and is logged on the EPC register. If you haven’t already been provided with a copy by the seller, simply search the register to find out what the energy efficiency rating is. In Scotland, the EPC is provided as part of the Home Report. As a homeowner in Scotland, you will be required to display the EPC in the property, such as by the boiler or in the meter cupboard.

How the rating is calculated

As mentioned above, a rating scale is used ranging from A to G. A is the highest rating and is shown in dark green on the certificate while G is the lowest rating and is depicted in red. The assessor uses a point system from 1 to 100 when examining aspects of the property, such as the lighting and roof insulation. Properties that only score 1 to 20 have the lowest rating of G while a high score of 92 to 100 means a property has the highest rating of A. On the EPC, a graph will highlight the property’s current rating as well as the potential rating if the recommended works are carried out. The higher the rating, the cheaper your fuel bills should be.

How does this affect you as a buyer?

The more energy efficient a property is, the more attractive it is to buy as it means the running costs are lower. If recommendations are detailed on the certificate to increase the efficiency, you may wish to negotiate on the property price with the seller.

How does this affect you as a buy-to-let landlord?

A Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) was set in April 2018, which means that all rental properties need to have a rating of E or higher. If your property doesn’t meet this minimum rating, you need to carry out the necessary improvements to increase its energy efficiency. New regulations are expected to come into force, however, that increase the rating requirement to C or higher. It’s proposed that the higher rating should be in place for new tenancies by the end of 2025 and for existing tenancies by the end of 2028.

Can it benefit you as a current homeowner?

If you’re already a homeowner and aren’t planning to sell your property, having an EPC carried out can still benefit you. It’s a good way to find out how you can improve your property’s energy efficiency so that your fuel bills are cheaper in the future.

Ways to improve your energy efficiency

The EPC will detail how you can increase the rating and give you an idea of the costs involved. There are small changes you can make, such as using low-energy lighting throughout the property and fitting draught excluders under the doors. Other measures can include having double glazing installed and ensuring there is adequate insulation in the roof, walls and loft.

Which buildings don’t require an Energy Performance Certificate?

Not every property has to have an EPC. Those that don’t can include listed buildings if the work to increase the energy efficiency adversely affects a property’s character, temporary buildings, places of worship, industrial sites with low energy usage and holiday accommodation that meets certain criteria.

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