Find out all you need to know about the EPC register

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What is the EPC Register and why does it matter?

Summary: The question of how energy efficient your home is has always been vital in terms of how much you pay for the gas and electricity you use. Switching energy suppliers is almost always driven by a desire to bring costs down, but monitoring the energy efficiency of your home through the EPC register could generate even more savings. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for any property is an objective assessment of just how much energy the property uses and, even more usefully, what could be done to generate further savings.

Why would I need an EPC?

The EPC offers general information on the energy used by a property and how much that energy typically costs. In addition to this it makes recommendations on actions which could increase the energy efficiency of the property and reduce the costs, as well as detailing how much the recommended course of action would be likely to cost at the time the EPC report is carried out. The EPC Register is a government register which holds the details for all the properties in the UK which have been awarded an EPC. You can search the EPC register by postcode.

Since 2008 it has been a legal requirement for anyone selling or renting out a property to be able to provide a valid EPC. Once it has been issued, an EPC remains valid for a period of 10 years. Any seller or landlord found not to have a valid EPC could be liable for a fine of up to £200. In addition to this, the absence of an EPC may well make any prospective buyer or tenant think twice about saying yes to the property.

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Are there any exemptions?

There are a few exemptions to the EPC law. For example, if you are renting out a room within a house, the individual room will not need an EPC, although a self-contained flat within a house will need one if it has its own front door and other facilities. Many listed buildings are exempt from the requirement to have an EPC on the grounds that their listed status makes it impossible to modify them to make them more energy efficient. Commercial properties may also need an EPC.

The owners of commercial properties may need to be able to produce a valid EPC if the following conditions apply:

  • The premises can be rented out or sold.
  • A building which is under construction has just been completed.
  • Some parts of a commercial building are altered in order to facilitate separate occupation. These alterations might include changes to the ventilation, air and heating systems.

I’m renting or buying a property and I’ve been asked to purchase an EPC. Is that right?

In short, no, that isn’t right. When you’re thinking of buying or renting a property the landlord or seller should hand over their EPC free of charge. Alternatively, you can search the government’s EPC Register which lists EPCs from across the UK. If you moved into your property prior to the introduction of EPCs in 2008 you can still commission your own to find out how energy efficient your home is and what you could be doing better. To do so you’ll have to pay for the services of an accredited domestic energy assessor, and the quickest means of finding a trusted assessor is via the assessor page of the EPC register.

How much does an EPC cost?

At the time of writing, the average cost for an EPC is between £60 and £120. This variation can depend upon factors such as the number of bedrooms in a property and the type of property. When selling or renting out a house you may find that your estate agent offers to find an assessor to issue the EPC, but this is generally a more expensive approach. By sourcing your own assessor you’re free to shop around, compare prices and get your EPC as inexpensively as possible.

The information included on an EPC

If you take a look at a recently purchased kitchen appliance such as a washing machine or fridge freezer, you’ll probably see a multi-coloured sticker which details the energy efficiency rating of the appliance. The EPCs listed on the EPC register are very similar to these stickers and will include the following:

  • An energy efficiency rating – the property will be graded from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G the least. Landlords renting out a property which achieves an E grade or less will find themselves possibly facing a fine of up to £4,000, unless they can give a valid reason for exemption.
  • The estimated cost of running the property – this will be an estimate of how much it will cost to power and heat the property per year. The EPC will also detail what the potential energy rating of the property could be if the right efficiency measures are taken, and the rating which the property has the potential to achieve.

The EPC as listed on the EPC register will also detail the action which could be taken to improve the energy efficiency of the property. This might include steps such as floor insulation, replacing an older boiler or fitting low energy lights. Alongside each recommended action will be an indication of how much it is likely to cost, and of how much it would generate in savings over a 3 year period.

Energy Efficiency Certificate

What an EPC survey involves

The accredited domestic energy assessor will visit the property for an EPC survey which generally takes between 20 and 60 minutes. During this survey they will:

  1. Note the size of the living space.
  2. Access all the rooms to count the number of fixed light fittings and assess how many are fitted with low energy light bulbs
  3. Carry out a head and shoulder inspection of any loft space to determine whether loft insulation has been fitted and if so if it has been laid correctly. They will also establish, if possible, the kind of wall which divides any terrace property from the property next door.
  4. Perform an inspection of the windows to ascertain whether they are single, double or triple glazed. If double glazing has been installed they will attempt to find out whether it was installed later than 2002.
  5. Inspect the heating system – The inspection of the heating system for the property will have the biggest impact on the EPC. The assessor will inspect any boilers in the property and, if it is available, will examine the handbook for the model(s) which have been installed. In addition they will inspect the time and heat controls as well as any thermostats in individual rooms or installed on individual radiators.

FAQs

✔️ I’ve been shown an EPC. How do I know if it’s valid?

Log onto the EPC register and click the link to retrieve an EPC. You’ll be asked to provide a 24 digit reference number which should be present on the EPC or supplied by an assessor. If the EPC is valid you’ll be able to save and print a copy of it.

📝 What is included in the list of a property’s energy performance?

This list will cover elements such as the walls, roof and heating system, giving each one a star rating of between one for least efficient and five for most efficient. These ratings will be based on an analysis of the age of the property, the type of construction and the features. It is in no way a reflection of the quality or physical state of each element.

❓ Will any insulation in the property automatically show up on the EPC?

No. The energy assessor will have to see evidence of the insulation, either visual (i.e. the head and shoulder inspection of the loft) or documentary such as receipts for cavity wall insulation work carried out.

⏳ How long is an EPC valid for?

An EPC is valid for 10 years.

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Written by eleanor

Updated on 19 Oct, 2020