What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

By Ian on Tuesday 7th November 2023

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You might have been asked by your estate agent or solicitor to get an EPC, but exactly what is an EPC? Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) play a crucial role in assessing and understanding the energy efficiency of properties. In this article, we’ll delve into the basics of EPCs and their significance for homeowners and landlords.

Table of Contents

What is an EPC?

You need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) whenever you sell or rent a home in the UK. Businesses also need one too, but its a slightly different document called a Non Domestic EPC. For homes, a Domestic EPC is a report that shows how energy efficient the house is.

Sample EPC showing a D Band Property

The above sample EPC shows the Energy Rating and Score section of the EPC. Other sections include

  • Overview
  • Breakdown of the properties energy performance
  • Estimated running costs of the property
  • Impact on the environment
  • Recommendations

Importance of EPCs

Your estate or letting agent will need an Energy Performance Certificate before your home can be put on the market. Your solicitor will also need it to process the sale of your home. If you’re a private landlord, eviction proceedings can be held up if there is not a valid EPC on the property. Fines of up to £5,000 can be issued too.

The idea is to give potential buyers or tenants information about the energy efficiency and running costs of a property before they commit.

On a positive note, homes with a higher EPC rating attract more buyers and tenants meaning they command a higher price.

How to Get an EPC?

To get an Energy Performance Certificate, you’ll need to book a Domestic Energy Assessor, known as an EPC assessor. This is us! We cover the North West, but if you need to find your local assessor, there is a register of all qualified and accredited EPC assessors.

Your chosen assessor will carry out an EPC assessment of your home. They’ll check things like:

  • Light bulbs
  • Radiator valves
  • Boilers
  • Wall types
  • Property age
  • Insulation levels

This information can then be input into software which generates your EPC rating and EPC certificate.

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Understanding The Ratings

Ratings range from Band G (lowest) to Band A (highest). Ratings are determined by SAP points on a scale of 0-100. For example, a property with 70 SAP points falls into Band C. Higher SAP points indicate better ratings. We’ve created an article to help you understand your EPC rating and SAP points.

  • Band A – Represents a highly energy-efficient property with minimal room for improvement.
  • Band B – Signifies a very good EPC rating with potential for further enhancements.
  • Band C – Indicates above-average energy efficiency, showcasing efficient energy usage.
  • Band D – Represents the average rating, suggesting room for energy-saving improvements.
  • Band E – Reflects a lower rating, highlighting the need for significant energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Band F – Signifies a poor rating that requires substantial investment to improve energy performance.
  • Band G – Represents the lowest rating, revealing significant energy inefficiencies and high heating costs.

Improve Your EPC Rating

The main areas where bands are gained and lost on the EPC are

  • Wall Insulation
  • Boiler / Water Cylinder
  • Construction Type

There’s not much you can do about having a solid vs a cavity wall, however, if you can insulate what you can (i.e. walls, floors and lofts) and use an efficient boiler for your heating and hot water, this will make a big difference to your score.

Smaller things that you can do are

  • Make sure you have energy saving light bulbs in all of your fixed fittings.
  • Have any documentation to hand that gives detail about new windows, doors or any extensions that you may have had built.

We’ve gone in to depth on this topic on another article. These are our three top tips to improve your EPC score.

Frequently Asked Questions

We created a list of the most common questions we get and some quick fire answers.

How long does an EPC last

An EPC lasts for 10 years and you only need to renew if you are selling or signing a new tenancy.

Do I need an EPC?

If you’re selling or renting a home and you don’t have a valid EPC, the answer is probably yes. There are a few EPC exemptions, but the vast majority of household in the UK need an EPC.

Can I do an EPC myself?

No. An EPC needs to be completed by a qualified and accredited Domestic Energy Assessor.

How much does an EPC cost?

We charge a fixed fee of just £60 for a Domestic EPC. Other assessors have different pricing structures ranging from £50 through to £100 depending on the size of the house.

How long to get an EPC?

Assessors are usually available within a day or two and produce the EPC certificate on the same day as the assessment. Most assessors, us included, have a same day turnaround service for a small additional fee.

How long does an EPC assessment take?

Most assessments are complete within 30-45 minutes. Larger homes may take a little longer.

Can you fail an EPC?

You can sell a home with any EPC rating. Homes with an EPC rating of Band G or Band F cannot be rented.

Are there exemptions to getting an EPC?

There are a few exemptions but the vast majority of homes in the UK need an EPC. This is the list of exemptions.

About the Author

About Ian Kay

Ian is a seasoned energy assessor helping his customers, reduce energy usage and save money on their bills. He holds qualifications from both City & Guilds and ABBE for Domestic EPCs and Commercial EPCs (Level 3 NDEA and Level 4 NDEA). With a background in the building trade he can provide his customers with a unique perspective and advice. Ian combines his deep industry knowledge with practical advice to create blog posts that help visitors understand the complexities of energy performance certificates and reducing operating costs. When not immersed in the world of energy assessments, Ian enjoys exploring the great outdoors and spending quality time with his family.

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