Last edited 09 Jul 2016

Energy performance certificate EPC

On 9 January 2013, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 took effect. The regulations require that energy performance certificates (EPC's) are produced for certain dwellings and non dwellings.

Energy performance certificates (EPC's), set out the energy efficiency rating of buildings. They are required when buildings are built, sold or rented, if they have a roof and walls and use energy to condition an indoor climate. If a building contains separate units (for example a block of flats), each unit needs an EPC, but they are not required for shared bedsit type accommodation.

Buildings that do not need an energy performance certificate include:

  • Places of worship.
  • Temporary buildings.
  • Stand-alone buildings with a floor area of less than 50 square metres.
  • Industrial and agricultural buildings with low energy requirements.
  • Protected buildings, where compliance with energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.
  • Rented dwellings that continue to be occupied by the same tenant since before 1 October 2008.
  • Buildings that are suitable for demolition.

Buildings are rated from A to G on EPC's, with A representing a very efficient building and G a very inefficient building.

EPC's are provided by accredited energy assessors who also provide a recommendation report to help owners and occupiers make their building more energy efficient, and may identify recommendations that could be eligible for Green Deal financing. Currently, there is no requirement to follow the recommendations, however, the Energy Act 2011 stipulates that from 2018 it will be illegal to let buildings that do not meet minimum energy performance standards. See Minimum energy efficiency standard regulations for domestic and non-domestic buildings for more information.

EPC's are valid for 10 years. They must be made available free of charge to prospective buyers or tenants at the earliest opportunity, and where EPC's are available, adverts must show the energy rating of a building (although it is no longer necessary to attach the front page of the EPC to written material).

For commercial buildings larger than 500 square metres that are frequently visited by the public, an EPC must be displayed if one is available.

For new buildings, obtaining an EPC is the responsibility of the person carrying out the construction.

EPC's can be generated using the Simplified Building Energy Model, or other Approved Dynamic Simulation Models (DSMs).

Research has shown that EPC's may not accurately reflect the actual energy use of buildings. For example, research presented at the COBRA 2012 conference suggested that "...in low labelled dwellings the energy use is less than expected, in the high labelled dwellings the energy use is somewhat higher than expected" (ref RICS: Effectiveness of EPC for the Existing Housing Stock).

In addition, a 2012 report by Jones Lang LaSalle and the Better Buildings Partnership, that studied more than 200 buildings, found that "...EPCs alone are not sufficient in delivering the Government's decarbonisation targets nor are they capable of accurately portraying a building's true energy efficiency" (ref Jones Lang LaSalle: A Tale of Two buildings. Are EPCs a true indicator of energy efficiency?)

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