What is an EPC?
An energy performance certificate (EPC) is something that has been needed since April 2008 whenever a property is built, sold or rented. In Scotland, domestic EPCs must be displayed somewhere in the property, such as in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler, but what does it do? Essentially, an EPC provides statistics about the energy efficiency of a property; it is a record of actual and potential energy savings of a property. They also have recommendations on where improvements can be made.
An EPC is valid for 10 years. In order to rate a building’s energy efficiency performance, the EPC takes account of energy use per square metre of floor area, energy efficiency based on fuel costs and environmental impact based on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Using the information from an EPC, you can assess the impact of energy-saving upgrades you make when you have your property reassessed later on. These estimates will also influence your eligibility for support and payments, including any ‘Feed-in Tariff’ payments.
Most buyers these days will know the financial implications of buying a property with a lower EPC rating and it’s very possible in the future that taxes and benefits will be increasingly tied to a property’s EPC, making the cost of reducing the carbon emissions a factor that should be considered when buying. It is also worth noting that since April 2012, an EPC rating of band D or higher has been needed if you want to have solar panels installed and receive the standard rate from the ‘Feed-in Tariff’.
The average house emits around six tonnes of CO2 per year, refurbishment will often bring this rate down considerably. Whether it be carbon reduction, fuel savings or energy efficiency overall, an EPC can tell you where you building is rated now, with good recommendations tailored to your own property for how to improve its rating.
The front page of an EPC will give you three pieces of information: the Energy Efficiency Rating, the Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating (with an estimate of cost based on standard assumptions) and CO2 terms to heat, light and wash in the property. Later on in the document are three groups of recommendations about ways to improve the energy efficiency of a building.
To calculate these ratings, certain assumptions are made – these include the number of occupants based on the floor area and, for domestic properties for example, that heating will be on for nine hours a day during the week and 16 at weekends, with a temperature of 21 degrees in the main living areas and 18 elsewhere.
When producing an EPC, ‘EPC For You’ assessors take into account all the features of a property in order to assess its energy efficiency: what the property is constructed from, which heating systems are in place, as well as any cooling and ventilation and the lighting systems. Whilst it’s not a building survey as it won’t comment on condition and doesn’t detail how the systems are used, ‘EPC For You’ can determine your EPC requirement according to the current up-to-date legislation. This may seem straightforward, but if your property has been split or designed to be used as separate dwellings, multiple EPCs could be required to comply with legal obligations.
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