An EPC is an Energy Performance Certificate that’s required by law on all buildings that are newly built, sold or rented out. That’s nearly all of them, then.
So if you’re buying or renting a property, you need to make sure there’s an EPC.
They’re valid for 10 years and give you an indication of how expensive the property will be to run, in terms of your gas and electricity bills.
Pretty handy really, EPC’s create greater transparency across the housing market about prospective properties. You may love the look of that historic house on first viewing, but then the EPC reveals it’s going to cost a small fortune just to heat. Bullet dodged.
What does an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) include?
An EPC is a colour-coded report that ranks your property on a scale of 1-100. It’s broken down into ‘Energy Efficiency Rating’ and ‘Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating’.
The scale for ‘Energy Efficiency Rating’ goes from dark green A (92-100) down to red G (1-20), with A being the most energy efficient with lower running costs and G being the least energy efficient with higher running costs.
The scale for ‘Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating’ goes from very light blue A (92-100) to dark grey G (1-20), with A being the most environmentally friendly with lower CO2 emissions and G being the least environmentally friendly with higher CO2 emissions.
On both scales, the ‘current’ and ‘potential’ ratings will be listed – the potential rating to be met if certain recommendations are realised.
Energy Performance Certificates are similar to the EU Energy Labels seen on electrical appliances, such as washing machines and fridge-freezers. Easy on the eye and uncomplicated.
How are EPCs carried out?
EPCs must be carried out by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor, who will look at factors such as the wall, floor and roof insulation, boiler efficiency and even the type of light bulbs used in a property.
Professional Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited personnel can also issue you with an EPC, which is often done when overseeing the purchase of a home.
All EPCs can be found on the national EPC register.
They cost between £60-£120 on average, but do depend on the size and location of a property.
EPCs are valid for 10 years and can be used by landlords for multiple tenancies within that period, as long as the property has a rating of E or higher.
From 1 April 2018, any property let on a new tenancy or a fixed-term tenancy renewal must have a minimum rating of E or above.
What other information do EPCs contain?
Aside from the sliding colour-coded scales, they also contain the following information aimed at making homes greener:
- Estimates of the energy your property potentially uses
- Carbon dioxide emissions
- Fuel costs
- Details of the person who carried out the assessment
- Who you can contact for complaints
By using all the information included in your ECS, you can measure the impact of your energy-saving decisions when you next have your home assessed.
Energy saving tips such as ensuring your appliances aren’t left on standby overnight, clothes are washed at lower temperatures and your windows all have double-glazing will make a big difference to your annual bill.
Tenant energy rights insist that if you’re renting a property and are directly responsible for paying the gas and/or electricity bills, you have the right to choose your own energy supplier.
Your landlord or letting agent can’t unreasonably prevent this – here at Look After My Bills we can switch you on to the best possible electricity supplier or gas supplier and save you up to £350 a year. Not bad, eh?
Top tips for improving your EPC rating
- Improve your loft insulation – An easy and cheap option; going from no insulation to 270mm can bolster your rating by 10-15 points.
- Installing cavity wall insulation – Insulating a cavity can increase your rating by 5-10 points.
- Upgrade heating system – Old boilers can waste a lot of heat, so upgrading to a new model will improve your score by 5-20 points depending on the age of the existing system.
- Insulate hot water cylinder – If you have one, adding insulation to the tank will bump a few points onto your score.
- Window glazing – Single to double glazing is worth several points, but double to triple won’t make too much difference.
- Renewable energy – Adding solar panels will boost your rating greatly (16 solar panels could add 10 points), while solar thermal and wind turbines will have a small but positive effect.
Get your EPC, and keep your bills as low as can be by getting Look After My Bills to switch you on to the cheapest deal. We keep switching too, to make sure you’re flipping delighted.