Today all domestic and commercial buildings in the UK that are available to buy or rent are required by law to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). So what are they and why do we need to bother?
In the simplest form they are very similar to the colour coded stickers you see on domestic appliances such as fridges and washing machines that provide information on how energy efficient the appliance is. An EPC works in pretty much the same way, only on a bigger scale for your whole home.
The EPC rates the building on a scale ranging from A (coloured green) which is the most energy efficient, to G (coloured red) which is the least energy efficient. Most traditional homes currently appear around grade D.
The EPC is useful to house hunters as it contains vital information about a property’s energy use and the resulting typical energy costs involved in running the home. Two ‘readings’ are given – one states the level of efficiency that your home is currently achieving, the other suggests what level of efficiency your home could be achieving if you were to put particular energy-efficient measures in place.
Examples of how to improve a home’s EPC can range from simply installing energy saving light bulbs and draught proofing to making more comprehensive improvements, such as replacing an ageing boiler, putting in secondary glazing or upgrading heating controls. Any measures that are likely to have an impact on improving overall energy efficiency will be positively evaluated.
It’s good to know as much as possible about your new home’s energy efficiency before you move in as it will give you a good idea of the amount of money you might need to spend on the house in future, whether it’s on energy-efficient measures or just on your energy bills.
For example, new homes are already six times more energy-efficient and generate over 60% less CO2 emissions than older style homes, which is the equivalent of driving 10,000 miles less a year per household. So new home owners can take comfort that they are doing their bit for the environment. But it’s not just about the planet, improved energy efficiency saves money too and living in a new four bed home can reduce energy bills by more than £500 per year.
It is also worth noting either as a home owner, or a renter, that from April 2018, it will be unlawful under the Energy Act 2011 to let a residential property on a new contract with an EPC rating of F or G – the lowest two categories. In addition, from April 2016, tenants living in F and G rated homes will be able to request that their landlord takes measures to improve the energy efficiency, with the landlord duty bound to respond within a month with a view to bringing the property up to the minimum E rating. For more information and advice on property EPC’s, please don’t hesitate to pop into one of our branches or contact our team on xxxx.