What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An EPC certificate tells you how energy efficient your property is, just like the multi-coloured stickers you see on new domestic appliances tell you how energy efficient the appliance is.
The ratings vary from G, the most inefficient rating indicated with a red colour, and all the way up to A, meaning very efficient and shown as dark green.
The purpose of the EPC certificate is to give you an indication of how much it will cost you to heat and light the property, and how much CO2 the property emits.

What else can it tell me?

It also crucially tells buyers or renters what changes they can make to improve the efficiency of the property to reduce their bills. This could include everything from adding insulation to switching to energy-saving light bulbs.

The idea behind an EPC is both to inform you of what you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your property, and hence save money, and also to show how attractive the property is from an energy perspective for potential buyers. The better the rating the lower the cost of running the property.

Does my property need an EPC certificate?

If you are looking to sell or rent your property then you absolutely need an EPC certificate. The only exceptions are specialised buildings, such as churches, temporary buildings and listed properties.

Buildings that do not require EPC

These include:

  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy
  • Some buildings that are due to be demolished
  • Holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy
  • Listed buildings - you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character
  • Residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

However, even if you’re not intending on selling your property, getting an EPC certificate is a cheap and quick way to assess the energy-saving potential of your property.
Bear in mind that a lot of newer properties may already have an EPC certificate, and may also be very energy efficient. Prospective landlords looking to rent their property must also have an EPC available for tenants to view. If they fail to produce one, they could face a fine.
The only other situation where you need an EPC certificate is if you are looking to receive payments under the Feed-in Tariff scheme for solar panels. Your property must have an EPC rating of ‘D’ or higher to be eligible for Feed-in Tariff payments at the standard rate.