Preparing to sell - First time buyer

What is an energy performance certificate (EPC)?

3 min read

An EPC provides information on a property's energy efficiency and gives it a rating. You need to provide one when selling your house, find out to get one and how to improve your rating below.

  • Abigail Bolton Senior Digital Website and Content Marketing Executive
    Abigail Bolton

    SEO Specialist and Senior Copywriter

    Published May 9th 2024

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An energy performance certificate (EPC) provides information on a property’s energy efficiency and gives it a rating, from A (very efficient) to G (least efficient). This rating is used by potential buyers and tenants to gauge a home’s energy costs. The EPC also gives recommendations of potential improvements you can make to reduce energy consumption in your home, as well as summing up how much these changes could save on your energy bills.

In this article:

How do I get a copy of my EPC?

Initially you should check if you already have a valid EPC, using the gov UK site to find your certificate. The website will provide the expiry date of the EPC. It’s only worth renewing if you’ve made energy efficient improvements to your home, as this will directly affect your EPC rating.

If you need to arrange for a new energy performance certificate, they are produced by accredited assessors. You can arrange one directly with an EPC provider in your local area by searching the EPC Register or they can be organised through estate or letting agents. Once you’ve chosen your provider, they’ll survey the property to produce a rating, considering things like double glazing, insulation, and the construction of the building.

How much does an EPC cost?

There’s no fixed cost for an EPC. Prices typically start at around £35 and can reach up to £120 depending on the property type, location and size.

If you’re renting or buying a house, your vendor or landlord must provide you with an EPC free of charge or they could face a £200 fine.

How long is an energy performance certificate valid for?

An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date of issue. The property you’re looking to buy or sell may already have a valid certificate, so it is worth checking old property listings or the EPC finder before arranging a new EPC survey.

How long does it take to get an EPC?

This will depend on the availability of the provider, but on average you should receive your EPC report within three working days of the survey being done.

The survey itself depends on things such as the size of the property, but it should only take about an hour.

What does an EPC include?

Your energy performance certificate will provide you with an energy efficiency rating and an environmental impact rating. The two most important pieces of information for potential buyers or renters are:

  • An estimate of the property’s annual energy use and cost for this use. This will include things such as lighting, heating, hot water, and carbon dioxide emissions. This is helpful to both buyers and renters as it gives you an indication of how much bills could cost.

  • Recommendations to improve the property’s energy efficiency rating, costs to make these changes and estimates for how much making these recommendations will save you. This could include large scale updates such as adding roof insulation or replacing the boiler, or smaller updates such as changing the lightbulbs.

Although EPCs may sound confusing, a lot of the information, such as the energy efficiency rating, is provided in an easy-to-read chart, to make the information easily digestible. See examples of how information in an EPC is provided.

Energy efficiency rating examples

How do I improve the energy rating of my home?

Your EPC will offer recommendations on reducing your home’s energy use, along with how much they’re likely to cost and an analysis of your savings after making those changes.

Some things that an energy performance survey might flag are:

  • Insulating your roof, loft, walls and floor to make your home more energy efficient.

  • Investing in double glazed windows and draught proofing to reduce heat loss and lower your energy bills.

  • Switching to low-energy light bulbs throughout your home – an affordable and cost-effective way to save money.

  • Installing solar panels to make savings in the long term.

If you decide to make your home more energy efficient and improve your property’s EPC rating, make sure you get your new survey score before putting your house on the market.

What is an environmental impact rating?

EPCs also evaluate a building’s impact on the environment, based on it's carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming and climate change. As with your overall energy performance, you’ll get a potential rating for your property’s CO2 emissions if you implemented the recommended changes.

Doing all this for the first time? Get more useful tips from our first-time buyers guide. You can also find more information on the steps you need to follow when buying a house, and don’t forget our handy moving house checklist.

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