There are many different considerations involved in buying or selling a house. Anyone who’s about to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on something wants to make sure they’re making a sound investment. Part of this is how efficient a property is when it comes to the energy it uses, which is important both for cost and environmental reasons. This is why it’s a legal requirement to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) at the point of marketing when selling a house, while they’re also required for rental properties too.
What is an energy performance certificate?
An energy performance certificate shows how energy efficient a property is, while also indicating its potential if certain improvements are made. The rating is graded from A to G based on a score of between one and 100, based on the amount of energy used per square metre and the carbon dioxide emissions given off. An EPC is produced by an accredited assessor and includes estimated energy costs, as well as an estimate of how much it will cost to make the improvements suggested. It will also sum up how much those changes could save you on your energy bills.
How to get an energy performance certificate
Energy performance certificates can be organised through an estate or letting agent, while you can also arrange one directly with an EPC provider. You can find one of these in your local area by searching the EPC Register. However you choose your assessor, they’ll survey the property and take things like double glazing, insulation and the construction of your property into account to produce a rating.
How much does an energy performance certificate cost?
There’s no fixed energy performance certificate cost, but they typically start at around £35. This can be higher depending on type of property being assessed, as well as what area it’s in and how big it is. You may have to pay up to £120 for an EPC, while you should never have to pay for one if you’re renting or buying a house. It must be handed over to you free of charge by your vendor or landlord, with a failure to do so potentially attracting a fine of £200.
How long is an energy performance certificate valid for?
An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date of issue. As they were only introduced in 2007, the property you’re looking to buy or sell may already have a valid certificate. You can also use the EPC Register to search for a property’s latest certificate, while they’re usually made readily available by estate agents when listing properties for sale.
How to improve the energy rating of your home
A high EPC rating can be an important factor when buying a house, especially if two properties under consideration are at opposite ends of the scale. You can improve your energy rating by addressing things such as the insulation you have in your roof, loft, walls and floor. Double glazed windows and draught proofing also help to keep more heat in, reducing your energy bills. Installing solar panels can be a great way to make savings in the long term, while a much smaller and cheaper improvement you can make is to switch to low-energy light bulbs throughout your home.
An energy performance certificate will offer recommendations on the best steps you can take in your own home, along with how much they’re likely to cost. You then get an estimated cost of heating, lighting and hot water after you make the changes, along with the savings compared to how your home’s currently performing. If you take steps to improve the EPC rating of your property, make you get a new survey done to show its new score before you put your house up for sale or rent.
What is an environmental impact rating?
Nowadays, more of us than ever are aware of our impact on the environment. As such, an EPC includes a rating for the impact of a building on the environment. This is based on carbon dioxide emissions, which are a key contributor to global warming and climate change. As with your overall energy performance, you also get a potential rating for your CO2 emissions once you implement the changes recommended in the certificate.
With the importance of an energy performance certificate explained, you may have other questions about the process of buying and selling a home. If so, don’t miss our downloadable conveyancing guide, where you’ll find information on everything from the process involved in a sale or purchase to searches and the setbacks commonly faced.
Disclaimer: This article is for informal and general advice on energy performance certificates (EPC)