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Energy Performance Certificate – Definition, Overview & FAQ

What is an energy performance certificate?

Definition: An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a document that provides a rating of the energy efficiency and environmental impact of a property. It is a legal requirement in the UK for properties being sold or rented.

The EPC gives property owners, tenants, and potential buyers or renters an insight into how efficiently a property uses energy, the cost of running the property, and suggestions for improving its energy efficiency.

Overview of the information contained in an EPC:

  • Energy Efficiency Rating: This is a measure of the property’s overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the property is, and the lower the energy bills are likely to be.
  •  Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating: This indicates the carbon dioxide emissions, with a higher rating showing a lower impact on the environment.
  • Estimated Energy Costs: The EPC estimates how much it will cost to heat and power the property. It also shows potential savings if recommendations for improvements are followed.
  • Property Features: The EPC includes information about key elements that have an impact on energy efficiency, such as windows, heating systems, and insulation.
  • Recommendations for Improvements: The EPC suggests ways to improve the property’s energy efficiency, which could include adding insulation, upgrading the heating system, or installing solar panels. It also provides estimated costs for these improvements and their potential impact on the EPC rating.
  • Summary of Energy Performance-Related Features: This section details specific aspects of the property that affect its energy and carbon emission ratings, providing a deeper understanding of its energy performance.

Obtaining an energy performance certificate

Obtaining an EPC is a straightforward process, but it must be carried out by a professional with the right qualifications.

The Process of Commissioning an EPC:

  1. Find an Accredited Assessor: The first step is to find an accredited energy assessor. They can be found through various online directories or sometimes via estate agents.
  2.  Assessment Appointment: Arrange for the assessor to visit the property. They will need access to all rooms, the boiler, and loft spaces.
  3.  Assessment: The assessor will examine key items in the property, such as loft insulation, domestic boilers, hot water tanks, radiators, windows for double glazing, and so forth.
  4.  Creation of the EPC: After the assessment, the assessor will use software to calculate the property’s energy efficiency and produce the EPC.

Roles of Accredited Energy Assessors:

  •  Assessors must be accredited to ensure they are competent and qualified to carry out the assessment. This accreditation also ensures they adhere to a code of conduct.
  •  The assessor’s role is not just to collect data but also to provide an accurate, unbiased report on the property’s energy performance.
  •  They are also responsible for lodging the EPC in the national register, where it can be accessed by the public.

Understanding EPC ratings

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides a rating of a property’s energy efficiency on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G the least. This rating is accompanied by a numerical score from 1 to 100—the higher the number, the more energy-efficient the property is.

  1. A Rating (92-100 Score): This is the highest rating and indicates a very energy-efficient property, with lower energy bills. Properties in this category often include features like high levels of insulation, double or triple-glazed windows, and renewable energy systems.
  2. B and C Ratings (81-91 and 69-80 Scores): These are above-average ratings, suggesting good energy efficiency. Most modern homes fall into these categories.
  3.  D Rating (55-68 Score): A rating of D is considered average. Many older properties fall into this category.
  4.  E, F, and G Ratings (1-54 Score): These are below-average ratings, indicating poor energy efficiency. Properties with these ratings are likely to have higher energy costs and may require significant improvements.

The importance of EPCs in property transactions

EPCs play a vital role in property transactions, both in selling and renting properties.

For Selling Properties:

  • Sellers must have a valid EPC available to show to potential buyers. This is a legal requirement and the EPC must be provided when requested.
  • The energy efficiency rating can impact the property’s attractiveness and value. More efficient homes can command higher prices.

For Renting Properties:

  • Landlords must provide a valid EPC to prospective tenants. The minimum energy efficiency standard for rented properties is typically set at an E rating.
  •  Properties with low energy efficiency ratings may be harder to rent out, and landlords could face legal restrictions on renting out low-rated properties.

Both sellers and landlords are legally required to provide an EPC. Failure to provide an EPC when required can lead to penalties.

Tips for improving energy efficiency:

Improving the EPC rating of a property not only makes it more energy-efficient but can also enhance its marketability and reduce running costs.

  •  Upgrade insulation in walls, roofs, and floors.
  • Install double or triple glazing on windows.
  •  Upgrade to a more efficient heating system, like a modern boiler.
  •  Use energy-efficient lighting, like LED bulbs.
  •  Install renewable energy sources, such as solar panels.

Benefits of higher EPC ratings:

  • Reduced Energy Bills: Efficient homes are cheaper to heat and power.
  •  Environmental Impact: Lower energy consumption reduces carbon emissions.
  •  Increased Property Value: Energy-efficient homes can be more appealing to buyers and renters, potentially increasing the property’s value.

EPC Exemptions and Special Cases

While most properties require an EPC when being sold or rented, there are certain exemptions and special cases.

  1.  Exemptions

    – Temporary Buildings: Buildings intended to be used for less than two years.
    – Industrial Sites, Workshops, and Non-residential Agricultural Buildings: These are exempt if they don’t use a significant amount of energy.
    – Places of Worship: Exempt from requiring an EPC.
    – Some Listed Buildings: Listed buildings may be exempt if compliance with certain energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.
  2.  Special Considerations for Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas:

    – Owners of listed buildings or properties in conservation areas should seek guidance before undertaking energy efficiency improvements, as certain modifications might not be permitted.


Is an EPC legally required?

Yes, in the UK, an EPC is required when a building is constructed, sold, or rented. There are a few exceptions, such as for certain listed buildings and temporary structures.

How long is an EPC valid?

An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date of issue. However, if significant energy-related changes are made to the property, a new EPC may be required to reflect these improvements.

Who can conduct an EPC assessment?

EPC assessments must be conducted by an accredited energy assessor. These are professionals who have undergone training and are certified to assess and produce EPCs.

What does the EPC rating mean?

The EPC rating, measured on a scale from A to G, indicates the energy efficiency of a property. An ‘A’ rating is most efficient and suggests lower energy costs, while a ‘G’ rating is least efficient.

What happens if I don't have an EPC when selling or renting out my property?

Failing to provide an EPC when required can result in fines. It’s a legal requirement to have a valid EPC available to prospective buyers or tenants