If you are looking to purchase a property, one thing you’ll come across sooner or later is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). But, what is an Energy Performance Certificate exactly?
EPCs were introduced in 2007 as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) for properties with four bedrooms or more. This was then extended to include smaller properties too.
Although the requirement for Home Information Packs was removed in 2010, most properties listed for sale or rent MUST still have a valid EPC. This is a legal requirement and is the responsibility of the property owner.
What Does An EPC Cover?
An Energy Performance Certificate shows how a property performs in terms of energy efficiency. It will detail which energy saving measures (such as triple glazing, wall insulation, solar panels, etc) are already in place and the expected energy costs of the building under normal usage.
The EPC will also make recommendations for further energy saving measures that could be implemented, the expected cost of such measures, and the anticipated energy savings.
Finally, the property will be given an energy efficiency grade between A (most efficient) and G (least efficient). That means prospective buyers can see at a glance how energy efficient the property is.
Why EPCs Are Important To Buyers
As a buyer, understanding the energy efficiency of a property you are considering purchasing is extremely important. For one thing, it will directly affect how much you have to spend on fuel bills each year!
An EPC will also give you some additional information that may not otherwise have been mentioned. This could be things like what type of boiler the property has or how thick the loft insulation is.
An Energy Performance Certificate will also allow you to start pricing up the cost of any additional energy saving measures that are recommended. This could be useful when trying to negotiate a lower price on a property.
How Long Is An EPC Valid For?
Energy Performance Certificates are valid for 10 years from the date of issue. That means, when viewing a property you may be looking at an EPC that is already quite out of date.
The certificate will show the date the property was assessed in the top left corner. Make sure you check this date so you know how up-to-date the information is.
It should be noted that an EPC is attached to a property, not to the owner. That means when the owner who obtained the EPC moves out, the new owner of the property inherits the certificate.
That means any improvements the current owner has made are not guaranteed to be reflected in the EPC.
Do ALL Buildings Need An EPC?
The short answer is no, not all buildings need an EPC. Firstly, only properties being listed for sale or for rent need an EPC. A house not currently on the market does not need an EPC.
Secondly, there are some exceptions that apply, even to properties listed for sale or rent. These include places of worship, listed buildings, and some temporary buildings. You can check the full list on the Governments website.
How To Check The EPC Of A Property
If you are considering buying a property, ask the selling agent for a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate. Since it’s required by law, they should be able to send one over immediately.
However, if the estate agent is slow in getting back to you, or you want to find out in a hurry, you can check the EPC register. This is the Governments database of all EPC’s that have been issued for properties. All you need is a postcode and a house number and you can get the latest EPC for free.
Hopefully, that has helped to answer the question of ‘what is an Energy Performance Certificate?’. As a buyer, all you need to concern yourself with is getting a copy of one for any properties you are interested in.
Make sure you read it and ask the seller or sellers agent if anything is unclear. Remember, what you learn in an EPC can be used as a negotiating tool if more work is required on the property to bring it up to current energy efficiency standards.