Making Sense of EPCs

Three years ago, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations took effect, which required that Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were to be produced for dwellings and non-dwellings in order to set out the energy efficiency rating of buildings. An EPC is typically required when buildings are built, sold or rented -- as long as said building has a roof, walls, and uses energy in order to condition an indoor climate. Essentially, EPCs affect house sellers, buyers and many more individuals including civil engineering in North Wales and beyond, so understanding them is key.

As stated above, EPCs were devised in order to set out the energy-efficiency of buildings, yet not all are subject to requiring one. Buildings that do not need an energy performance certificate can include places of worship, temporary buildings, stand-alone buildings with a floor area of less than 50 square metres, industrial and agricultural buildings (providing they have low energy requirements) and protected buildings where compliance with energy efficiency guidelines will alter their appearance. Additionally, rented dwellings that continue to be occupied by the same tenant since before 1 October 2008 do not require an EPC certificate.

Within the certificates, the building in question is rated from A to G. ‘A’ represents a very efficient building, and G the most inefficient. EPCs are provided by accredited energy assessors who also provide recommendations to help owners and renters make their building more energy efficient and they can also help identify recommendations that are eligible for Green Deal financing. Whereas now in 2016 there is absolutely no requirement for the recipient of a report to follow these recommendations, from 2018 it will be illegal to let buildings which do not meet minimum energy performance standards.

An EPC is valid for 10 years. They are available free of charge to prospective buyers or tenants at the earliest possible opportunity, and although it is no longer required to attach the front page of the EPC to written material, the energy efficiency of any building not exempt must be shown.
Image Credit: Rebecca Forbes | CC BY 2.0