What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

Over the past few years there has been a renewed emphasis on energy savings thanks to higher fuel and home heating prices. With electricity rates rising and no end in sight, more businesses and homeowners are looking for ways to save energy and cut back on their electric bills.

One popular method that is currently being used is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which is helping people get a better grasp on the energy usage in their home or office and understanding how to make improvements.

What is an EPC?

The EPC was formally introduced in 2007 and is an evaluation of your home for its current energy efficiency performance. The EPC measures the total energy usage and the carbon dioxide emissions and the result is a letter grade. The letter grades range from A to G and the report will also provide suggestions for improvements. The EPC letter grade is valid for a decade.

Why the EPC Important?

The EPC is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. An EPC must be ordered for all potential buyers or tenants before you can market your property to either rent or sell. In some places, such as Scotland for example, you must actually display the EPC on the property itself which is usually next to the meter or boiler.

There are certain structures where an EPC is not required, they include;

  • Places of Worship
  • Temporary Structures Standing Less than 2 Years
  • Stand Alone Buildings with less than 50ft of Floor Space
  • Residential & Holiday Rental Property used for less than 4 Months each Year
  • Industrial Sites, Workshops, Agricultural Buildings without Residents
  • Buildings that will be Demolished

While the EPC is important in many ways, it does have one of its most powerful effects in qualifying your home for the Feed-In-Tariff if you use solar panels to generate electricity. In order to get cash from the Feed-In-Tariff for using solar energy, your home must have a letter grade of D or higher. If your home does not score at least a D, then it will not qualify for the Feed-In-Tariff program.

How to Obtain an EPC for your Property

In order to get an EPC, a recognized assessor must visit the property and examine key areas for energy savings and losses. These areas cover the following;

  • Insulation in the Loft
  • Hot Water Tank & Domestic Boiler
  • Radiators
  • Windows for Double Glazing and more

All the information gathered is then put into a software program which calculates the energy efficiency of the entire home. The result is then delivered as a letter grade along with recommendations for improvement. The householder generally pays a fee for the survey to be performed which varies depending on the size of the property. Since the survey is non-invasive, it is possible for the householder to challenge and override any assumptions made by presenting visual or written evidence to the contrary.

For those who are thinking of adding solar panels to their home, having an EPC of D or higher is vital towards getting cash from the Feed-In-Tariff for energy generation.