What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
An EPC is a document that contains information about a property and how efficiently it uses energy.
An EPC provides some key pieces of information
- The energy efficiency of a property on a scale from A – G (The most efficient being A and G the least efficient)
- The environmental impact of a property
- It also provides recommendations and cost effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of a property
The benefit is that, if acted upon, this can mean lower energy bills due to lower energy consumption, and in turn lower carbon emissions.
When is an EPC needed?
A Landlord must provide an EPC to prospective tenants, the first time the property is let (after Oct 2008). The EPC is valid for ten years. Each subsequent tenant should have a copy of the EPC. If there have been significant changes to a property which would have an impact on the EPC the landlord may choose to commission a new one, but they are not obliged to do so.
An EPC is also required every time the property is marketed for sale.
Why is an EPC important?
All EPCs on existing homes are produced using the same methodology. This means that all home owners and occupiers can compare the energy efficiency of different properties – in a similar way to comparing the fuel consumption of different cars.
Part of the EPC is a recommendation report which will list the potential rating that your house would achieve, if the changes were made. This information can be used to:
- Cut fuel bills
- Improve energy performance in the home
- Help cut carbon emissions
What information does an EPC contain?
The EPC contains a number of important sections (see the PDF example under the Downloads section):
The estimated energy section shows the estimated energy use, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel costs of the dwelling over 3 years. To enable a comparison between properties, the figures are calculated using standardised running conditions such as heating periods, occupancy, room temperatures etc. As a result they are unlikely to match an occupier’s actual fuel bills and carbon emissions.
The figures do not include the impacts of the fuels used for cooking or running appliances such as a fridge or TVs etc, nor do they reflect the costs associated with servicing, maintenance or safety inspections. One important thing to remember is that the costs will reflect the prevailing costs when the EPC was produced so it is important to check the EPC date because fuel prices change over time and energy saving recommendations will evolve.
Energy Efficiency Rating
This is the chart commonly seen which shows the energy efficiency of a product, appliance or in this case the building. It provides a simple snapshot of how well the property does in terms of its energy efficiency and its carbon footprint today and how well it could perform if the recommendations contained in the EPC are put in place.
The higher (A is high) the rating the lower your fuel bills are likely to be. The average rating for a dwelling in Wales is a Band D. (Rating 60)
The top three recommended measures are indicated on the front page, as well as in the larger table on page 3. All of the actions detailed in this section are cost effective, i.e. they will generate savings over time which will more than repay their cost. These recommendations are specific to the property and for each action an indicative cost is given along with the typical annual savings that could be expected. The savings and rating information is measured cumulatively; that is it assumes the improvements have been installed in the order they appear on the table. Measures with a green tick are likely to be fully financed through the Governments new 'Green Deal'.
Summary of the property's energy performance related features
This section gives an assessment of the key individual elements that have an impact on the property’s energy efficiency. The rating goes up to 5 stars which is the most energy efficient of that element. The descriptions are based on the data that has been collected specific to the property’s thermal and heating elements.
The assessment does not take into consideration the physical condition of any element. There are some elements that cannot be inspected (due to an inspection being non intrusive) and these are labelled as 'assumed'.
The certificate will contain information on the green deal as well as which improvements could benefit from Green Deal finance. It will also include information on whether improvements have already been made using Green Deal finance as this finance will stay with the property.
Environmental Impact of the building
In the same way that the energy efficiency rating chart will show the current and possible ratings (after improvements) the environmental impact chart shows the current impact (based on CO₂ emissions) and the predicted impact if the recommendations are all carried out. The chart works again on an A - G scale with A being the best, or lowest impact.