An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for a property when it is built, sold or tenanted. Prior to marketing a property for rent or sale an EPC must be available for renters (buy-to-let) and potential buyers. Rules differ slightly in Scotland where an EPC must be displayed in the property. This can be in a prominent position next to the boiler or meter cupboard. An Energy Performance Certificate contains two critical indicators. Those being the typical existing energy costs and energy usage of the property. Secondly a recommendation as to how to save costs and reduce energy usage.
The importance of an Energy Performance Certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate illustrates the efficiency from A (most efficient) down to G (least efficient). The EPC is valid for a period of 10 years. Essentially an EPC is an accurate measurement of the impact a property has on the environment. You can use our EPC finder postcode to check a specific property by postcode. However please remember an individual can opt out of the register if they wish to keep their EPC report private. The EPC checker will confirm issue and expiry date together with current and potential energy rating. The EPC Finder will also detail property construction and information on energy efficiency.
No minimum EPC rating if you wish to sell
If you wish to market your property for private rental an EPC of E or above must be in place. It is unlawful, from 1st April 2018, to grant a tenancy and/or renew or extend a tenancy to existing tenants if the property has an EPC rating of F or G. An exemption may apply if the landlord/owner has effected all the energy efficiency improvements. There is though currently no minimum EPC rating required if you wish to sell your property. The minimum Energy Performance Certificate only restricts landlords who wish to rent their property in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). The EPC register database is a free to use UK government application.
How To improve your EPC rating
Upgrading your windows will not only improve your property’s energy performance it will also reduce noise. On average a property loses 10% of heat through doors and windows. In the current climate of rising energy costs this equates to a real squeeze on the household budget. Older windows could be costing you a lot more and are a main consideration for improving your Energy Performance Certificate. Double glazed windows typically last between 10 to 20 years although depending on quality, installation and where the window is situated in your property they can last for up to 35 years. With the advent of triple glazed windows this now offers even better insulation.
Loft insulation is another major consideration, heat rises. Loft insulation is inexpensive and easy to install and will reduce your bills. Install loft insulation with a minimum thickness of 270mm.
Cavity Wall Insulation
In older buildings cavity wall insulation may be absent, there are grants and incentives to install cavity wall insulation.
A huge amount of publicity is currently being given over to heat pumps with corresponding grants available. However caution needs to be exercised as this is an incentive that has been hastily assembled and may yet turn out to be the next government track and trace. The most efficient and green heat pump is a ground source heat pump which is powered from solar panels while also implementing and in conjunction with under floor heating.
Also remember that to retrofit a system you will also need to install a hot water storage cylinder. Heat pumps will not heat water to the same levels as a gas fired boiler. You will also have to double up your existing radiators i.e. a single panel radiator will need to be a double panel radiator. A double panel radiator will need the addition of a further double panel radiator. The biggest concern of all is noise mindful also that a heat pump will need to operate 24/7 in temperatures below 20c. The average UK temperature for 2020 was 9.62c.
Irrespective as to whether a heat pump runs 24/7 or not the major consideration that has been overlooked is NOISE. As an example an external condensing unit (similar to an outside heat pump unit) is installed in a commercial premises. This ‘condensing unit’ is to serve an internal air conditioning handler or a beer cellar cooler. If this is within a certain distance of residential most local authorities will stipulate no more than 40db for the outdoor unit.
It therefore seems a contradiction that every local authority the width and breadth of the UK will allow your neighbours heat pump to operate with an average rating of 42db. Heat pumps are a knee jerk reaction to COP 26. There are already viable alternatives coming to market with drop in units that can heat water to the same levels as gas boilers.
Naturally far more sustainable than fossil fuel but ‘environmental sustainability’ has been questioned more recently. Solar panels make use of the planet’s most sustainable resource, sunlight. However the toxic composite of solar panels overshadows the volume of waste. Solar panels are brittle by design and break easily, panels then become hazardous. Due to the heavy metal waste they are classified as hazardous waste. Also solar panels are made up of selenium that will eventually be exhausted if manufacturers continue to extract this mineral to meet demand.
Properties not requiring an EPC Rating
- Stand-alone buildings with a total usable floor space of less than 50 sq metres
- Places of worship
- Holiday accommodation rented out for no more than 4 months a year or let under a licence to occupy
- Temporary buildings used for less than 2 years
- Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that use minimal energy
- Buildings due to be demolished
- Residential buildings in use for no more than 4 months a year
- Listed buildings – seek advice from the local authority conservation officer if work alters the character of the building
Opt out of the EPC register database
You can opt out of the EPC register database if you do not want your EPC rating made publicly accessible. Contact the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
Telephone: 020 3829 0748
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm