Whether you’re purchasing a property, selling your home, or simply seeking ways to improve energy efficiency, understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) is essential. In this article, we will explore what an EPC entails, its advantages and disadvantages, and most importantly, the best methods for improving your EPC rating. Let’s dive in and find answers to these questions.
What is an EPC?
Simply, an EPC is an abbreviation for an Energy Performance Certificate. Essentially, it is a report that assesses the energy efficiency of a property, provides a rating based on how energy efficient it currently is, and offers recommendations on how to improve the EPC rating.
How do I know if I have an EPC for my home?
If your home already has an Energy Performance Certificate, it will be on the government EPC register website, which you can easily access.
It is easy to use. It will ask you what type of property the certificate is for, which will be a domestic property if you are looking to find an EPC for your home. You can then put your postcode in and find your address, and if there is an EPC registered, you should be able to access it. It’s that simple.
It is worth knowing that an EPC is valid for 10 years. The EPC register will also detail when the assessment was carried out and if it has expired.
What if my home hasn’t got an EPC?
If you check the government EPC register and there is no EPC registered to your address, then it may mean that your home hasn’t got an Energy Performance Certificate. EPCs are issued by qualified Domestic Energy Assessors. A Domestic Energy Assessor will need to visit your home and inspect the property, to produce an EPC with the current energy efficiency rating and recommendations for improvements.
Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate?
If you intend to sell or rent your property, an EPC is required. However, even if you don’t have immediate plans, it is still recommended to obtain an EPC as it provides valuable insights into your home’s energy performance and suggests ways to achieve savings on energy consumption and bills.
How much does it cost to get an EPC?
Typically, there is a fee associated with obtaining an EPC, ranging from £60.00 to £120.00 on average.
What information will an EPC provide?
An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A to G. An EPC with a rating ‘A’ being most efficient, and ‘G’ being least efficient.
Included in the EPC is a colourful graph illustrating the property’s current and potential energy rating.
The EPC is broken down with information on the property itself – so the construction type, your property’s energy performance, estimated energy use, and recommendations to improve your EPC rating and score. Alongside the recommendations for energy efficiency improvements, the EPC will also give estimated energy bill savings if installed.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of an EPC?
An EPC rates a property’s energy efficiency on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). The report includes a visual graph displaying the property’s current and potential energy rating. Additionally, it provides details about the property’s construction, energy performance, estimated energy usage, recommendations for improving the EPC rating, and potential energy bill savings.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an EPC:
- Provides insights into your home’s energy performance and suggests improvements.
- Implementation of recommended changes can lead to cost savings on energy bills and reduced carbon emissions.
- Some assumptions may be made during the EPC report creation, potentially resulting in discrepancies. If you decide to follow the recommendations and install measures, it’s advisable to conduct a more comprehensive technical survey with the installation company.
Why improve the EPC rating?
A higher EPC rating translates to lower energy bills. Improving your rating can be a significant advantage when selling your home, as energy-efficient properties are more appealing to potential buyers.
Landlords are also obligated to improve the EPC rating of their properties to meet government requirements. Under government proposals, from 2025 all newly rented properties will need to be upgraded to an EPC rating minimum of C.
With the aim of achieving net zero targets by 2050 and transitioning to renewable heating sources, energy-saving improvements will become essential for all homes in the UK.
What are the best ways to improve an EPC rating?
- Insulation: Focus on insulating your home, starting with cavity walls and loft insulation. Ensure your loft has at least 270mm of insulation. If you have solid walls, consider insulating them internally or externally for substantial energy and cost savings.
- Additional Insulation Measures: Explore options like underfloor insulation to further enhance energy efficiency.
- Efficient Windows and Doors: Upgrade to energy-efficient windows and doors to reduce heat loss.
- Renewable Technologies: Consider incorporating Solar PV and Air Source Heat Pumps to harness renewable energy and improve your EPC rating.
Funding and grants for energy-saving measures
Although there are low-cost and effective ways you can improve the EPC rating of your home, there are also more expensive measures, which can understandably be a barrier to acting on the recommendations of your EPC due to affordability reasons.
Before going ahead with the installation of energy efficiency measures, it is worth checking to see if you qualify for funding and grants to help you make those improvements. There is a range of home insulation grants and renewable grants, with a variety of eligibility requirements to meet individual circumstances, to support householders in upgrading their homes.
Properties that have an EPC rating of E, F, or G may be eligible for funding through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme if the householder receives a qualifying benefit.