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What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Owain Banfield
Written by Owain Banfield
6th April 2018 (Last updated on Monday 15th October 2018)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an energy efficiency rating for your property, and is needed by law on all properties being rented and sold. These are both beneficial in ensuring that homes are meeting efficiency targets as well as allowing home owners to identify areas of their home where they may be able to improve efficiency, save on energy bills and increase the overall comfort of their living conditions.

In recent years we have seen a continuous rise in the awareness of the environmental impact of energy efficiency, along with the fact that energy prices continue to rise in the UK. This has led to the government introduced a scheme where all domestic and commercial buildings in the UK that are available to buy or up for rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). 

In this guide Compare My Move provide a detailed look at EPC, including what this property survey looks at, what the report looks like, and how the rating is calculated.

This article will cover the following points

How Much Will an EPC Cost? Who Conducts an EPC Survey? How Long Will an EPC Survey Take? How Does the Survey Work? How is an EPC Rating Calculated? How do You Read an EPC Report? Do I Need an EPC Report? Whose Responsibility is an EPC? What if my EPC Report is Bad? Save on Your Survey

How Much Will an EPC Cost?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will cost between £60 and £120 on average, depending on the location and size of your property. When you work with a professional to undertake an EPC, you will need to make sure that they are accredited to do so. You can make sure that they are accredited by searching for your Domestic Energy Assessor on the government portal.

It is important that the assessor you work with is accredited as it will ensure that your certificate has a legal foundation should anyone attempt to question it.

Who Conducts an EPC Survey?

A professional RICS accredited chartered surveyor will issue you with your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), as it's not a task that you can carry out yourself. Additionally, domestic energy assessors can also conduct your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

How Long Will an EPC Survey Take?

Depending on the size of your property the survey can take anything from 20 minutes to 60 minutes to complete. This is due to the fact that it is a fairly simple assessment and quick to execute as long as the assessor has access to all the areas they need to. You should receive the report within a few working days.

How Does the Survey Work?

The assessor will first introduce themselves and ask any questions they need to about the home as well as about the accessibility of the areas which they need to inspect. They will also take note of various aspects of the property that will allow them to apply a rating and offer suggestions on how to improve it. These aspects will include the size of the living space of your property, the overall constructions of your house, details of any insulation that has been used through the property, lighting and the heating system and their controls.  

In terms of the areas that the assessor will study this will include going into every room in the building and checking the number as well as the type of light fitting to see if these are energy efficient. They will also undertake a visual inspection of the loft (if you have one), this will tell them how much and what type of insulation you are using as well what type of wall/insulation there is between your house and the one next door.

They will also undertake a visual inspection of the windows, checking whether they are single, double or triple glazed, as well as whether they meet various standards. A large part of the assessment will also study the heating system, any controls it has and the overall energy efficiency of the system. They will take photos of all the aspects they study in order to keep a record of their findings.

How is an EPC Rating Calculated?

Once the Domestic Energy Assessor has completed their survey they will have collected the result of the various areas they have surveyed. They will then use these results in order to calculate an EPC score using a computer program which runs the result through the Reduced Data Standards Assessment Procedure (RDSAP), a calculation model that has been developed by the government.

The assessor will input data including the property type, the age of the property, type of construction, property dimension, room and water heating systems, insulation levels, windows and glazing types and types of lighting.

The RDSAP software is a cost-based rating system which uses a number of pre-determined assumptions. These assumptions do not make considerations for the appliances in your property such as washing machines, TV’s or dishwashers. Instead it focuses on the overall energy performance of the building itself, taking into consideration areas such as heating and lighting to provide an energy efficiency rating for the building itself rather than an occupancy rating.  

Once all the information has been run through the software it will produce a rating based on a scale to show how energy efficient that property is at the time of assessment.

How do You Read an EPC Report?

The EPC rating has been created in order to be easy to read and understand with a clear lettered and colour coded scale.

The report will highlight two key areas including the ‘Energy Efficiency Rating’ and ‘Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating’. The Energy Efficiency Rating will provide a table of potential ratings which are colour coded and graded from A (dark green) to G (dark red) with A being the most energy efficient and G being the least. It will also include the buildings current rating on that scale, along with a potential rating which may be achieved if the recommendations made are taken into consideration and acted upon.

The Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating follows a similar system, which rates based on colour and grades from A (light blue) to G (dark grey), with A being ‘very environmentally friendly – lower CO2 emissions’ and G being ‘Not environmentally friendly – higher CO2 emissions’. This will also include a current rating based on the assessor’s findings along with a potential rating for when the recommendations have been acted upon.

(EPC Rating England & Wales Example)

The report will also likely include more granular information on the cost and energy efficiently of the individual parts of the property that have been surveyed. It will also give recommendations on what you can do to improve the overall energy efficiency of the building.

Do I Need an EPC Report?

When you are buying or renting a property you should never be asked to provide or pay for an EPC report. However, if you plan on renting out a property you own or putting the property you own onto the market then you will need to get an EPC rating.

There are two occasions where you may be exempt from providing an EPC. This includes when you are a live-in landlord and are renting out one of the rooms in your property. The other occasion is in some cases listed buildings do not need an EPC as their protecting regulations limit owners to increasing insulation or installing double glazing.

You may also not need an EPC if you have one which has been completed in the last 10 years as it should still be valid. However, if you have undertaken work to improve the energy efficiency of the building you may want to have an assessment to update based on these improvements.

Whose Responsibility is an EPC?

For rented properties, the landlord has the responsibility to arrange an EPC. If you are purchasing a house, the EPC will be provided by the property seller, whereas the developer will usually provide the EPC for a new build.

This has been required by the government by law since 2008 (2009 in Scotland) and if you fail to comply you may be subject to a penalty such as a fine of £200.

What if my EPC Report is Bad?

As we have previously explained, your certificate will provide details on the current energy efficiency of your property. This may not always be as expected and may even be concerning if the results are very low on the scale. However, you certainly shouldn’t panic if this is the case. The rating that the assessor has given the potential energy efficiency should give a clear indicator of what you can do to increase the energy efficiency of the property.

The report will also contain details of top recommendations for increasing the energy efficiency of your property along with an indicative cost and potential cost savings of undertaking these updates. Using this information, you should easily be able to understand how beneficial making these updates will be in comparison to how much money they will save you.

If you are planning on renting a property and the EPC you have been provided is not satisfactory you should be able to negotiate with your letting agent or landlord to get some of the suggested work done ahead of moving into the property. For further reading, check out our guide on what to do with bad survey results.

Save on Your Survey

We hope this guide has explained all there is to know about the Electrical Performance Certificate (EPC), and you now understand why it's needed. Although by law an EPC must be arranged when you're selling a house, your other property survey options may be less clear cut. Luckily, Compare My Move have got a range of guides on property surveys, so you know exactly which type you'll need. This includes the popular Homebuyers Survey and Valuation Survey, the detailed Full Structural Survey, and the specialist Listed Building Survey.

When you're ready, remember to use Compare My Move to save on your survey costs. Just fill in a quick and easy form and get connected with up to 4 RICS accredited surveyors, to save time and money when it matters most.