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What is an EPC?

Wed 08 Dec 2021

What is an EPC?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are a record of how energy efficient a property is. The certificate rates the property’s energy efficiency and CO2 emissions between A and G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.

 An EPC is required when a property is sold or rented, and lasts for 10 years. They are the government’s chosen way of complying with the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD), and are a key part of the Government’s strategy to reduce the 27% of national carbon emissions that come from our houses.

If you require an EPC for your property, both partners at Bothams - Marcus Linsey BSc (Hons) MSc Real Estate MRICS and Andrew Terry LLB (Hons), MSc (Real Estate) - are fully qualified energy assessors and would be happy to give you advice and a competitive quotation.

The assessment process

An energy assessment involves an inspection of the property to ascertain the various determining elements of the property relevant to the EPC. The elements that are taken into account are:

·       Size of the property, in terms of area and ceiling height

·       Construction and detachment type of the property

·       Age of the property

·       Heating system or systems

·       Fixed lighting

·       Floor, wall and roof insulation

·       Windows and doors

·       Location

·       Solar panels and/or any other energy efficient additions such as wind turbines

This is not an exhaustive list, and other elements may be considered or added in line with changes in legislation/methodology.

The data gathered during the inspection on the above elements is then entered into government approved RdSAP software, which then uses the elements in combination with two main assumptions to calculate the EPC rating. These are:

·       Standard occupancy – the size of the dwelling determines the number of occupants and therefore the hot water requirement.

·       Standard heating pattern – the heating requirement is based on the volume of the dwelling, following standard heating patterns of 9 hours heating a day during the week, and 16 hours a day at the weekend. The living area is heated to 21⁰C and the rest of the house to 18⁰C.

The software is largely assumption-based in an effort to ensure that properties are directly comparable in terms of ratings, but it is worth noting that due to the nature of these assumptions, the estimated energy costs may not always be ‘correct’, and may be substantially higher than the actual bills you have been paying.

For example, if there are only two people living in a large 5 bedroomed property, and the heating is set to only 16⁰C, the estimated energy costs that the software will produce will be substantially higher than the actual bills paid. Alternatively, if there are four people living in a small two bedroomed property, with the heating set to a permanent 24⁰C, the estimated energy costs produced by the software may actually be lower than the actual bills paid.

As EPCs are centrally registered on a government register, domestic energy assessors are subject to quality assurance checks or audits on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy and validity of the EPCs produced. For this reason, energy assessors have to gather evidence of the elements recorded at the property inspection to be able to include them in the assessment. The evidence is normally gathered by way of photographing the element in question, but this is not always possible.

For example, in terms of cavity wall insulation, unless this can be seen and photographed either through an air brick or by the external drill holes where the insulation was pumped in, the insulation cannot be included without documentary evidence to confirm the installation of insulation. It is therefore a good idea to have any relevant documents or certificates for any such insulation or other energy efficient measures to hand for the assessor’s visit.

EPCs are usually four pages long and include:

Page 1

·       An energy efficiency rating between A and G, in a similar style to that used for fridges and washing machines.

·       Estimated energy costs and savings averaged over a three-year period

·       The top three recommendations for the property, their typical cost, and the savings they would provide

·       Brief Green Deal information

Page 2

·       A building summary with statements about elements of the building based on data recorded by the DEA, including construction and insulation details, the heating system and hot water system

·       More in-depth information about Green Deal and how the financing works

Page 3

·       Full list of cost-effective recommendations for the dwelling, their indicative cost, typical savings, and whether they can be financed fully or partly through the Green Deal

·       List of possible ‘alternative measures’- these measures improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling, but do not have costs or savings associated with them

·       The Green Deal Package – this lists all the recommendations which can be fully funded by the Green Deal

Page 4

·       Energy Assessor details including contact information

·       Environmental Impact Rating – this is a rating of the carbon emissions of the dwelling and is a similar A-G rating as the Energy Efficiency rating.

Need an EPC for your property? Get in touch - our team will be happy to help.