Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are documents which aim to inform others of the energy efficiency of a building. As of October 2008, EPCs are necessary for buildings built, sold or rented. When you buy a home, make sure you understand why EPCs are necessary, what EPCs actually tell you, how to obtain an EPC and what to do if an EPC is not provided to you free of charge.
The Need for Energy Performance CertificatesEnergy Performance Certificates are produced to let property owners, and prospective buyers and tenants, know how energy efficient a building is and, by association, how much it may cost to run a home in that building. They came about once it became known that buildings give off carbon emissions much like planes, trains and cars do. These carbon emissions are the result of the way a building is:
Information on an Energy Performance CertificateBuildings are graded on an “A” through “G” scale on EPCs. An “A” is awarded to buildings with the most energy efficient standards while a “G” is awarded to buildings with the least. In addition to this information, EPCs are issued with a corresponding report on the building. Together this packet includes information on:
- The current energy efficiency grade of a building.
- A building’s projected energy use, carbon emissions, fuel costs.
- A summary of a building’s energy related features (heating, cooling, etc.).
- Specific recommendations for future energy efficiency.
- Expected monetary savings of following the recommendations.
- Projected EPC grade change if recommendations are followed.
- The energy assessor’s name, company and contact information.
- How to find out more or make a complaint about an assessment.
Obtaining Energy Performance CertificatesAs a home buyer, you should receive a free EPC from the home owner or the organisation building the home. As a tenant, you should receive a free EPC when you are renting the entire property, but you may not necessarily receive one if you are only renting a room in a dwelling and sharing “communal” spaces with others. This is the law. Home owners can obtain an energy performance assessment by contacting a domestic energy assessor and paying the approximately £100 fee.
If Energy Performance Certificates Are Not ProvidedHome owners must commission an EPC prior to marketing their home for sale. This means that it should be only about five working days from the time of commissioning to the seller being issued the EPC, and thus providing copies to buyers or renters. If a home owner does not provide an EPC to a prospective home buyer then a complaint can be made to the trading standards department of the local council. If a building group does not provide an EPC to a prospective home buyer then a complaint can be made to the building control department of the local council.
Carbon emissions from buildings play affect the environment, and Energy Performance Certificates are one way to find out more about how each building functions and the carbon emissions it produces. Home buyers should understand why EPCs are needed, what EPCs tell them, how to obtain EPCs and what to do if EPCs are not provided during the purchasing process.