What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an official document that shows a home's current and potential energy efficiency. It displays a rating on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient and cheapest to heat.

Andrea McFarlane
B2B Marketing
EPC rating image
10/5/2022

If you've bought or sold a house recently, you'll have noticed an EPC rating for the property...  But what is it and why is it important?

What is an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an official document that shows a home's current and potential energy efficiency. It displays a rating on a scale from A to G, with A being the most efficient and cheapest to heat. It also includes a list of actions that could improve the home's energy efficiency. You’ll need an EPC if you’re selling, letting or building a home in the UK.

How does an EPC work?

An Energy Performance Certificate document shows the outcome of an energy assessment conducted by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA).

When a home is sold or let, a DEA will visit the home to conduct a special energy efficiency survey.

During the survey, the assessor will inspect a range of criteria including room sizes, heating systems and types of insulation used.

They’ll take measurements and photos which will support their assessment and recommendations.

The assessment shouldn’t take longer than a couple of hours, and the homeowner should receive the EPC in less than a week.

If an EPC has been conducted within 10 years of a home being sold or let out, and no changes have been made to the home, there’s no need for a new assessment.

If the home is being built, an accredited On Construction Domestic Energy Assessor (OCDEA) will conduct a remote survey. They’ll assess the building plans rather than conduct an in-person inspection.

How do you read an EPC?

You can view a sample EPC document here.

An EPC is a document several pages long. It’s often provided as a printed document but it can also be viewed online.

It’s split into around a dozen sections, including the estimated energy costs of your home, its energy efficiency rating and recommendations to improve its efficiency rating.

But it’s best known for the chart that shows a home’s energy efficiency rating. You’ll find this on the first page of the EPC.

The energy efficiency rating chart shows the current and potential rating of the home. The current rating column will show an arrow pointing to the corresponding letter (A-G). A number will also be shown inside the arrow, which is the efficiency score (1-99).

The following table shows how the letter and number ratings relate to one another.

A home with a higher rating will be cheaper and more efficient to heat.

The document will also estimate the current and potential energy costs to run the home. This will include lighting, heating and hot water. But it won’t include other energy costs such as using appliances.

Perhaps the most useful part of the EPC is the recommendations section. This is a list of measures that could improve the efficiency of the home.

Recommended measures might include:

  • Internal or external wall insulation
  • Floor insulation (suspended floor)
  • Draught proofing
  • Low energy lighting
  • Double glazed windows

If you need help understanding an EPC, you can speak with an estate agent, landlord or the assessor who conducted the energy survey.

When do you need an EPC?

An EPC is required by law when a home is built, sold or rented in the UK.

If you’re selling a home, you’ll need to provide an EPC to your estate agent.

If you’re renting out a home, you’ll need to provide an EPC to your letting agent. And if you’re in Scotland, you’ll need to display the EPC within the home while it’s occupied.

If you’re buying or renting a home, you can request an EPC from the estate or letting agent. This will help you understand how efficient the home is to heat and what type of improvements could make it more efficient.

Can you let out a home with a poor EPC rating?

You won’t be able to rent out most homes if they have an EPC rating of F or G.

The government has set a target of increasing the minimum EPC requirement to C by 2030.

However, there are some exemptions for properties in England and Wales - for example, if the home is a listed building or you’ve spent £3,500 on improvements. You can check if your home is exempt on the Gov.uk website.

A consultation is still going on about landlord exemptions in Scotland. You can view the latest updated on the Home Energy Scotland website.

How do you get an EPC?

If you already own a home and you've misplaced your EPC, you can view it online for free using the Gov.uk website.

Scottish homeowners can view their EPC using the Scottish Energy Performance Certificate Register.

If you’re buying or renting a property, you can request an EPC from the estate agent or landlord. You can also search for the EPC online using the Gov.uk website.

If you’re selling or letting a home and don’t already have an EPC, you’ll need to arrange for a survey to be done by an accredited domestic energy assessor. You’ll need to contact them directly, and you can find an accredited assessor on the Gov.uk website. They’ll usually charge a fee of between £35 and £120 depending on the size and type of home.

EPCs are valid for 10 years, after which you’ll need to get a new one.

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