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Last edited 05 Sep 2023
Energy performance certificate EPC
Energy performance certificates (EPCs), set out the energy efficiency rating of buildings from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and are valid for 10 years. 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. An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs and recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.
EPC is also used as an acronym for energy performance contracts and although related differ in that these refers to contracts for the implementation of energy saving and renewable energy measures by a contractor.
 Calls for Reform
In February 2023 The Climate Change Committee (CCC), published 'Annex - Reform of domestic EPC rating metrics to support delivery of Net Zero' along with an open letter from Chair of the Climate Change Committee, to Lee Rowley MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008, whose purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets, report to Parliament on progress made and prepare for adapting to the impacts of climate change. Key messages of the letter and supporting annex were:
- The ratings on EPCs are an important policy tool – used to define standards and targets for reducing emissions from homes – but are poorly suited to this role.
- The current EPC rating metrics do not accurately incentivise the energy efficiency and heating solutions required to deliver Net Zero homes.
- EPC rating metrics should be improved, so they are easier to understand, can be compared with actual performance, and enable policies to be better targeted.
- Domestic EPCs should include four primary metrics, using real-world units, and clear simple names:
- Reforms to EPC rating metrics should be applied alongside wider improvements to the EPC system to improve the quality of assessments and use of data. EPCs could also be expanded to provide information on risks posed by climate change and ways to reduce these.
For further information, including the original letter and supporting annex document visit https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/letter-reform-of-domestic-epc-rating-metrics-to-lee-rowley-mp/
On 9 January 2013, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 took effect. The regulations require that energy performance certificates (EPCs) are produced for certain dwellings and non dwellings.
Energy performance certificates (EPCs), set out the energy efficiency rating of buildings from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and are valid for 10 years. 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.
- 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.
EPCs 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.
EPCs are valid for 10 years. They must be made available free of charge to prospective buyers or tenants at the earliest opportunity, and where EPCs 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).
Research has shown that EPCs 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?)
In February 2019, research by Nirushika Nagarajah of the University of London and Joseph James Davis of the University of Kent suggested that 15% of EPC ratings for residential properties were wrong, with errors caused by inaccurate measurements, particularly where rooms were irregularly shaped. Ref
In October 2019, the government announced a consultation on setting a minimum EPC band B for privately rented buildings by 2030. It also intends to consult on the introduction of mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for business buildings.
- Accredited energy assessor.
- Air tightness.
- BS EN 15232 Energy performance of buildings: impact of building automation, controls and building management.
- Building performance.
- Building performance metrics.
- Carbon ratings for buildings.
- Certificates in the construction industry.
- CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.
- Display energy certificate.
- Emission rates.
- Energy certificates for buildings.
- Energy efficiency of traditional buildings.
- Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
- Energy related products regulations.
- Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.
- Energy targets.
- Green mortgage.
- Home information pack HIP.
- Homebuyer Report.
- How much does it cost to sell my home.
- Listed buildings.
- Minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES).
- Minimum energy efficiency standard regulations for domestic and non-domestic buildings.
- NABERS UK.
- National Calculation Method.
- National Retrofit Strategy NRS.
- Non-domestic private rented property minimum standard.
- Passivhaus vs SAP.
- Performance gap.
- Private rented sector regulations and traditional buildings.
- Simplified Building Energy Model.
- U-value conventions in practice: Worked examples using BR 443.
 External references
- Legislation: Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales).
- Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government: A guide to energy performance certificates for the construction, sale and let of non-dwellings.
- Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government: A guide to energy performance certificates for the construction, sale and let of dwellings.
- Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government: A guide to display energy certificates and advisory reports for public buildings.
- Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government: A guide to air conditioning inspections for buildings.
- Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government: Local weights and measures authority guidance for energy performance certificates and air conditioning inspections for buildings.
- Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government: Recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive - impact assessment.
- Guild of Residential Landlords: Changes to EPC Regulations 2013.
- RICS: Effectiveness of EPC for the Existing Housing Stock. September 2012.
- Jones Lang LaSalle: A Tale of Two buildings. Are EPCs a true indicator of energy efficiency? 2012.
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