Whether you own a domestic or commercial property, you need to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). It is a legal requirement to have one when you build, rent out, or sell a property.
In addition to being a legal requirement, there can also be other benefits to having an EPC. It can help to give you a good overall view of how energy efficient your property is as well as give you some recommendations to help the building to become more energy efficient.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate?
An energy performance certificate is given after an inspection, which is carried out by an assessor who looks at the energy efficiency of a building. They will look at factors such as insulation, the efficiency of boilers, heating systems, and windows to give potential renters or buyers an accurate picture of its energy efficiency – helping them to roughly gauge how high energy bills could be.
This is presented through an energy rating – scaling from A (the most energy-efficient) to G (the least energy efficient) – to make it clear how well a property is performing.
In addition to giving you an overview of the energy efficiency of the building, the certificate will also give you a list of recommendations of things that can be done to improve its efficiency – making the property greener. This could include actions like installing cavity wall or loft insulation, getting a more modern and efficient boiler, or getting double or triple glazing for your windows.
The EPC which is required for your building is different depending on whether it is being used for domestic or commercial purposes:
- A domestic energy performance certificate will give you an overall energy rating and an environmental impact rating – as well as an indication of its potential ratings. You will need to supply it when you build, let or sell your property.
- A commercial energy performance certificate is needed when you are building, letting or selling a commercial building such as an office, retail outlet or factory. A commercial EPC is very similar to a domestic EPC, but it has a more detailed assessment. Public buildings also need to have a Display Energy Certificate (DEF) presented in an accessible place in the building, which shows the building’s actual energy use.
It is a legal obligation to have an EPC if you are in any of the situations described above, and failure to acquire an EPC when you need to can result in penalties. If you are a landlord, you should also be aware that the law now stipulates (since April 2018) that if your property has an energy efficiency rating of less than an ‘E’, you will not be allowed to rent it out. The EPC should give you a list of measures that you can carry out to raise the rating.
Without a valid EPC, you could suffer repercussions from your Local Authority Building Control department – they can force you to get one, as well as give you a fine of between £500 and £5,000.
The Benefits of Having an EPC
Although the threat of incurring a fine should be enough to persuade you to get an EPC when it is needed, there are a number of other benefits:
- It gives you a clear overview of the building’s energy efficiency – It is always good to have an idea of how energy efficient your building is. Being aware of this can help you to use it in a way that costs you less and reduces wasted energy.
- It can help you to improve the building’s energy efficiency – The list of recommendations which are provided can give you professional advice about how to improve the energy efficiency of the building, both helping the environment and bringing down energy costs for those in it.
- It can make your property more attractive to buyers or renters – Having a property that is energy efficient can help you to sell or rent it out. Potential buyers or renters will be pleased to know that they are having a lower impact on the environment, but also lower energy bills, and, of course, potentially having less work for them to do in the future.
It is clear that there are a number of reasons why an EPC is important – in terms of reducing our carbon footprints, legal duties, and saving money, for example. It is easy to organise an EPC assessment, and, armed with the professional information that it gives us, we can make the world a greener, more energy-efficient place.