Energy Performance Certificates are compulsory
06.December 2010

Energy Performance Certificates are compulsory

From 01/10/2008, it is required by law that all new tenants or purchasers of property must be provided with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) by the landlord or seller. From 6 April 2008, all homes built and physically completed on or after this date, will need to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provided on completion of construction. The EPC gives the new tenant/purchaser an indication of the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the building/dwelling and helps them to estimate their energy consumption costs in the future.

For homes, two ratings are shown.

The energy-efficiency rating is a measure of a home's overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the home is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.

The environmental impact rating is a measure of a home's impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions - the higher the rating, the less impact it has on the environment.

Each rating is based on the performance of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting), rather than the domestic appliances within it. This is known as an asset rating. The certificate also lists the potential rating of the building if all the cost-effective measures were installed.

The ratings will vary according to the age, location, size and condition of the building. The potential rating on the certificate will take these factors into account, and the suggested measures will be tailored so that they are realistic for the particular building.

The certificate also includes a recommendation report, providing information about ways to improve the energy performance of the property. Recommendations include cost effective improvements and further improvements (that achieve higher standards but are not necessarily cost effective). For each improvement the level of cost, typical cost savings per year and the performance rating after improvement are listed. The potential rating shown on the certificate is based on all the cost effective recommendations being implemented.


The EPC also contains other useful information which includes:


Estimated energy use
This is based on standardised assumptions about occupancy and heating patterns. An estimate of the current and potential energy use, carbon emissions and fuel costs for lighting, heating and hot water is provided.  The actual energy use depends on the behaviour of the occupants.


Energy advice
The certificate provides basic advice about energy efficient behaviour.

Example of an Energy Performance Certificate (PDF)

The EPC assessor documents the energy efficiency characteristics of the property and calculates an estimate of the expected energy consumption level.
This assessment takes into account the quality of the building skin including the windows; roofs and ceilings; the ventilation system (if available); the heating and hot water system and the type of fuel used. The EPC also contains recommendations on measures to improve the energy efficiency of the property.


Criticism of EPCs
The preparation method for some EPCs has been criticised because accurate data is not always available or applied. For example, some EPCs are based upon historical data or comparison data which does not always reflect the exact condition of the property being assessed. Also, if access to the property is not possible, the assessor may complete the report based solely upon assumptions about the condition of the property.
Further criticisms include the lifespan of the EPC and the energy usage assumptions. An EPC is valid for a maximum of 10 years. This means that the data presented in the assessment report may be up to 10 years old. This data may no longer reflect the true condition of the property and/or the requirements of new minimum standards which have come into effect since the production of the original report. Also, the energy usage assumptions are based upon standard usage patterns and occupancy rates which may not reflect the actual energy usage of the current occupant(s). This can lead to large discrepancies. Furthermore it  does not reflect any increases in fuel costs within the validity period of the certificate.


The EPC only provides a general assessment and does not include a detailed diagnosis of the building or the construction components installed. If you are planning to renovate or modernise the property, it is recommended that you have a detailed survey carried out in order to maximise the value of your investment. This may in some cases also be required if you are planning to apply for certain grants or subsidies.


Is an EPC always necessary?
The provision of an EPC only applies to new lettings or sales of properties on or after 01/10/2008 or sales of newly built properties on or after 01/06/2008. It does not apply to properties which were already let or sold before these dates and for which a current letting contract exists. If at the end of this contract the property/dwelling is re-let, an EPC must be provided to the new tenant.


What are the penalties for not providing a residential EPC?

The Regulations are enforced by Trading Standards Officers (or Building Control Officers for new build properties) and failure to provide an EPC where the Regulations apply may result in a penalty charge notice of £200. This charge may be applied repeatedly until an EPC is provided.

What are the penalties for not providing a commercial EPC?

The landlord is liable for failing to provide a commercial EPC and could be fined for non-compliance, the fine for which can be up to £5,000. However, this is not clearly defined and the fine may be issued on multiple occasions if the EPC remains outstanding.


Further Information:


Energy Performance Certificates are compulsory

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