Energy performance certificates represent the remnants of the much publicised (and arguably disastrous) home information packs (HIPs). Here, solicitor Liz Curran explains what they are, and what they do!
What they do
In short, an energy performance certificate (EPC) grades how energy efficient a property is, or isn’t! It also gives information on how to make your home more energy efficient, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Why do I need one?
All homes bought, sold or rented, now require an EPC – it’s the law! You are obliged to provide one to your buyer if you are the seller/landlord. You should receive an EPC when you are thinking about buying or renting a home.
A building will need an EPC if it has a roof and walls and has heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation. For example, a garden shed would not need an EPC if it doesn’t have any heating!
Energy use and carbon dioxide emissions
EPC’s carry ratings that compare the current energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions with potential figures that your home could achieve. Potential figures are calculated by estimating what the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions would be if energy saving measures were put in place.
The recommendation report
The recommendation report shows what you could do to help reduce the amount of energy you use, and your carbon dioxide emissions. The report lists:-
- suggested improvements, like fitting loft insulation
- possible cost savings per year, if the improvements are made
- how the recommendations would change the energy and carbon emission rating of the property
You don’t have to act on the recommendations in the recommendation report. However, if you decide to do so, it could make your property more attractive for sale or rent by making it more energy efficient.
How do I get an EPC?
You will need to contact an accredited domestic energy assessor. You can use the energy performance certificate register website to search for one. The assessor will carry out an inspection, and produce the certificate. Accreditation schemes make sure that domestic energy assessors (DEAs) have the right skills and are able to carry out the survey to agreed standards.
Domestic energy assessors may be employed by a company (like an estate agent or energy company) or be self-employed. Always check that your domestic energy assessor belongs to an accreditation scheme.
The Department for Communities and Legal Government (DCLG) has announced proposed changes to the energy performance of buildings which are intended to be implemented as soon as possible.
Some of the main changes are:-
- extending the current requirement to have an EPC for all buildings for sale or rent, including non-residential properties
- extending the powers of Trading Standards officers to require that an EPC has been commissioned to persons acting on behalf of the seller or landlord (eg estate and letting agents), not just landlords and building owners
- the regulations will also be changed to make it clear that the EPC cannot be delayed until a sale contract or a rental agreement is entered into by the seller and purchaser or landlord and tenant as appropriate