Understanding Your Home's Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC's) were originally introduced in England and Wales in 2007 as part of the now obsolete Home Information Packs (HIP's) which became a statutory requirement to be produced by the vendor when placing their home on the market. When HIP's were discontinued in 2010, the requirement for EPC's was retained and all domestic homes, including rental properties, now require an EPC. EPC's provide guidance on making your home more energy efficient and reducing carbon emissions. EPC's are valid for ten years.
EPC's are produced in the form of two charts similar to those seen on electrical white goods such as washing machines, and contain two primary elements: details of the property’s energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions together with a report containing suggestions on how to affect a reduction in energy use and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is extremely important as approximately 27% of the United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions come from domestic homes, contributing to climate change.
A comparison is drawn in the form of a rating between the current energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions and the figures that the property could achieve if the energy efficiency measures recommended in the EPC were put in place.
The rating given is expressed using a grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’ where an ‘A’ rated property is most efficient and one with a rating of ‘G’ is the least efficient. All homes are rated using the same calculations in order to enable easy comparison of the energy efficiency of different properties. The average efficiency grade is currently ‘D’.
The recommendation report contained within the EPC makes suggestions as to what action the homeowner could take to improve the rating of the property by reducing energy usage and lowering carbon emissions. It also illustrates potential annual savings which could be made if for example, loft insulation was fitted to make the property more energy efficient, together with a projected revised rating for the property should the recommendations be put into effect.
The recommendations contained within the EPC are for guidance only and you do not have to act on them, although the better the rating your property has, the more attractive it will be to potential buyers or tenants.
The EPC has details of the accredited domestic energy assessor (DEA) who carried out the EPC assessment. It also tells you who to contact should you wish to make a complaint. DEA's are closely regulated and accreditation schemes are in place to ensure that; they are part of a register, are appropriately qualified to carry out an energy efficiency assessment, are correctly insured, have criminal records checked, and are accountable via a complaints procedure.
If you are not given an EPC, you should contact the Trading Standards department of your local council or the Building Control department if your property is a new build.
Image source: JP Elliot
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies.