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EPC Explained

Date online: 30/06/2014

 

 

 

What is an EPC?

An EPC is a five-page document that contains information about a property and how efficiently it uses energy.  It is produced using a standard layout and uses standardized measures, usage patterns and performance criteria to enable properties of all shapes and sizes, ages and configurations to be compared objectively in terms of a) their energy consumption and b) their impact on the environment.

What information does an EPC contain?

The EPC contains a number of sections:

  1. The Energy Efficiency Rating and Environmental Impact(CO2) Rating

These are the charts that most people will be used to seeing and which are often, mistakenly, referred to as “The EPC”.  Whilst very important, they only constitute a small part of the whole document.  They provide 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.

  1. Estimated energy use, carbon dioxide(CO2) emissions and fuel costs

The figures in this table are provided to enable prospective buyers and tenants to compare the fuel costs and carbon emissions of one home with another, both today and if the recommendations contained in the EPC are put in place.  To enable the comparison, 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.

  1. Recommendations

All of the actions detailed in this section are cost effective, ie they will generate savings over time which will more than repay their cost.  Recommendations are split into Lower Cost Measures (typically costing less than £500) and higher cost measures (£500 or more).  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.  An example of a Lower Cost Measure could be switching to low energy lighting whilst and Higher Cost Measure could be installing a new condensing boiler.

  1. Further Measures

These are actions that should be considered to those already specified if aiming for the highest possible standards for this home.  A typical example could be installing solar water heating or photovoltaic panels.

  1. 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 and environmental performance and includes factors such as wall construction, the roof, floor. Windows, heating, hot water and lighting.

  1. Supplementary information, actions and advice

The last page of the EPC certificate gives some more information on the recommendations and further measures as well as providing some more ideas to help you save money and reduce the impact of your home on the environment.

Who would be interested in an EPC?

Any new / prospective owner or tenant will have a very clear interest in how a property performs and what actions, if any, can be undertaken to improve that performance.  EPCs are now mandatory for all residential properties and must be made available to all prospective purchasers or tenants.

Unfortunately, many people are still unaware of EPCs, how to obtain one and how to interpret it. This may be due to the fact that the person who commissions the EPC in the first place has little or no interest in it or its contents, the vendor or the landlord.

When is an EPC produced?

If an EPC does not already exist for a property, one must be commissioned as soon as it is offered for sale or rent. If an owner has made significant changes to a property which would have an impact on the EPC they may choose to commission a new one, but they are not obliged to do so.

How long does an EPC last?

All EPC certificates last for ten years.

Who can produce an EPC?

EPCs are produced following an energy assessment undertaken by a qualified assessor, known as a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA), who is accredited by an accreditation body licensed by the Government.

How do you get hold of an EPC certificate?

The Energy Efficiency Rating chart must be displayed alongside of the property details regardless of whether it is being offered for sale or rent.  However, this is not the EPC and as a prospective purchaser or tenant you are entitled to see the document at any stage in the purchasing process and this must be provided free of charge.

This is usually done in the form of a weblink containing a 24-character identifier known as the Report Reference Number (RRN).  By entering this weblink into any web browser you will be taken to the central database from where you can download the EPC certificate.  Alternatively you may be given a pdf version of the report.

 

The methods described above are used to provide copies of the Energy Performance Certificate free.  Should you require the EPC in any other format, there could be an administrative charge.

For more information visit the official EPC certificates web page from the Direct.gov.uk web site.

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