What Is An EPC

what is an EPC

An EPC or Energy Performance Certificate is a document that shows the the energy rating of a property. It rates the property from an A (the highest) to G (the lowest). It is required when selling a property or renting a property. The incoming resident must by law be given this certificate.

This comprehensive guide will help you better understand EPCs, answer the question “What is an EPC?”, why you need one and how to get one done. Let’s dive in!

EPC Certificate Explained: Why You Need One for Your Property

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced in England and Wales in 2007 and in Scotland in 2008 as part of the United Kingdom’s implementation of the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

The main purpose of EPCs is to provide information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building, offering a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and recommendations for improvement to help reduce energy use and save money and overall making buildings more energy efficien.

The EPC is a 3 to 5 page It is now a legal document that is required whenever selling or renting a property. All rental properties must acheive a minimum epc rating of an E.

EPC Certificate

epc certificate contents

The epc certificate is an online document on a government register. You can get a free copy of any certificate if one already exists from https://www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate. If there is no certificate, or it has expired, we can arrange to get a new one done for you.

The property’s epc certificate summarises 6 key factors about the its energy efficiency:

  1. Rules on letting the property
  2. Energy rating and score
  3. Breakdown of property’s energy performance
  4. Impact on the environment
  5. Changes you could make to improve the energy efficiency rating
  6. Who to contact about the certificate

Reading and Interpreting Your EPC

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides a wealth of data on the energy efficiency and performance of an individual property. It includes both current and potential ratings, associated costs, and recommended improvements for greater energy efficiency.

Taking time to read it is essential in making informed decisions regarding implementing any of the recomendations.

The EPC performance page provides a summary description of each component such as wall construction type, insulation levels, heating system along with hot water utilisation plus lighting services, and glazing.

Each item is given a rating from poor to very good, depending on their level of energy efficiency. This can give homeowners insight into available potential savings that can be achieved from each component.

The estimated energy cost and annual heat demand for the property is also calculated. This gives the incoming resident estimated running cost for that particular property.

EPC requirements EPC legal framework

All domestic properties for sale must have an EPC given to the incoming resident. Also all rental properties must have a valid EPC registered on the epc register.

It is a legal requirement that all rentals properties meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard of at least an E rating. If the property has a rating of an F or G the property cannot be legally let unless it has a valid exception registered on the PRS register.

EPC Exemptions and Special Cases

Owners of certain properties, such as holiday homes, are not always obliged to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate.

Listed buildings still require an EPC but are exempt from having to meet the minimum energy efficiency rating of an E if the improvements of the EPC are not suitable for its construction type. It doesn’t exempt the property from carrying out some improvement that would not compromise the property. An example of this would be to change the lighting to LED lights.

The following properties are exempt from requiring an EPC:

Temporary buildings with a planned time of use of 2 years or less.

Residential buildings which are intended to be used less than 4 months of the year or where the owner or landlord could reasonably expect the energy consumption of the building to be less than 25% of all year round use.

Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m2 (i.e. buildings entirely detached from any other building).

A building is also exempt where the seller or landlord can demonstrate that:

  • the building is suitable for demolition

  • the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment

  • all the relevant planning permissions, listed building consents and conservation area consents exist in relation to the demolition, and

  • in relation to the redevelopment, either outline planning or planning permission exists and where relevant listed building consents exist

In spite of having exemptions, property owners should still attempt to achieve optimum levels of efficiency while maintaining the structural integrity without compromising on aesthetics by taking steps like introducing renewable sources for energy or installing more efficient boilers and draft-proofing components etc.


EPC ratings


epc ratings

The rating graph shows a summary of the property’s energy efficiency rating and is the most visible part of the certificate.

The ratings go from G 0 (the worse) to ( A 92) the best. An average UK property has an EPC rating of a D60. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the property is.

It is a simple graph than can be quickly used to compare one property to another.

How to get an EPC done

The EPC is produced by a qualified and accredited Domestic Energy Assessor. A visit is required to the property to gather the data required to produce the EPC. A site visit takes around 30 minutes for an average sized property.

Information is gathered about:

  • The wall constuction type

  • Type of heating system and heating controls

  • Type of lighting

  • Type of glazing and age

  • The dimensions of the property

Who is responsible for getting an EPC certificate?

The responsibility for obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate typically falls on the seller or landlord when a building is being sold, rented out, or constructed. It’s their duty to provide a valid EPC to prospective buyers or tenants.

For newly constructed buildings, the responsibility lies with the person carrying out the construction to obtain an EPC and provide it to the owner.


EPC Benefits

An Energy Performance Certificate provides a wealth of benefits, primarily centred around the energy efficiency rating that serves as a clear indicator of a property’s energy use and typical energy costs.

The EPC is primarily meant for the incoming resident as it gives potential buyers an immediate sense of how costly a building will be to heat and run. In essence, a property with a high energy efficiency rating is designed to have lower energy bills, making it more attractive to the resident.

An EPC doesn’t just assess current energy performance; it also suggests energy efficiency improvements that can improve a property’s rating.

By implementing these recommended measures, homeowners can transform an energy-draining building into a more energy-efficient one. This not only contributes to long-term financial savings on energy bills but also enhances the comfort of the living environment.

The property becomes less reliant on excessive heating or cooling, maintaining a more consistent temperature due to better insulation or more energy efficient lighting and heating systems. It’s worth you knowing how to tell if a light bulb is energy efficient

Additionally, energy efficiency improvements recommended by an EPC can lead to a significant reduction in a property’s carbon footprint, aligning with environmental sustainability goals.

An energy-efficient home is not just a private benefit but a public good, contributing to national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


How much does an EPC cost

The cost of getting an EPC can vary greatly, typically ranging anywhere between £60 and £120. Factors such as location, age/size of building and structure complexities will affect the actual price charged.

Once basic information is given to the Assessor, a fixed price can then be confirmed.


What is the penalty for not having an EPC?

The penalty for not having an EPC can mean fines of a minimum of £500 to £5,000. All rental properties must have a valid EPC and the tenant should be given this prior to moving in.

The relevant local authority is the body responsible for enforcing these regulations.

Properties that are sold also require a valid EPC. If there is no valid EPC during the sale process, this is normally picked up by the solicitor during their conveyancing duties, who would then advise the seller to obtain one, therefore avoiding any penalties.


Can a house fail an EPC?

No, a house cannot “fail” an EPC because an EPC is not a pass/fail assessment. It is an evaluation of a property’s energy efficiency and carbon emissions, providing a rating from A to G.

Even a property with a low rating, such as an F or G, does not fail; it simply indicates that the property is energy inefficient and could benefit from improvements to make it more energy efficient.

However, there are minimum energy efficiency standards that must be met for certain purposes.

For instance, in England and Wales, private rented properties must have a minimum EPC rating of E for new tenancies and renewals, as per the regulations that came into force in April 2018.

If a property has an F or G rating, the landlord is typically required to make energy efficiency improvements to bring the property up to at least an E rating before it can be rented out, unless they qualify for an exemption.

Failing to meet this requirement can result in penalties, but the property itself does not fail—it simply requires improvement.


What is the EPC register?

The EPC Register is an accessible online platform which stores the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) of all UK properties.

Owners can easily access and opt out of it, while potential buyers or renters have the opportunity to verify its validity. This provides a great way for them to understand more about energy performance when deciding if a property meets their needs.


Rickie Dickson
Written by Rickie Dickson

Rickie Dickson is an experienced and qualified domestic and non domestic energy assessor. He helps homeowners and businesses in all matters relating to energy efficiency, from meeting building regulations compliance to improving a property’s energy rating score.