A Guide to Understanding EPC Certificates
26 July 2022
Whether you’re thinking about either buying or selling, renting or letting, EPC ratings will come up, and you will need to know what they mean.
With the current climate-change crisis remaining a popular topic for the UK Government, a poor EPC rating could be the deciding factor which tips your property plans over the edge.
What is an EPC rating?
An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate Rating) measures your property’s energy efficiency. It’s measured from A to G with ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ being the least. Overall, the higher the rating, the less the property costs to heat and power.
A poor EPC rating implies poor efficiency, which means the property may cost more to run and have more of a detrimental impact on the environment compared to properties that have a good EPC rating.
An EPC can also measure a property’s carbon dioxide emissions, and in today’s current climate, this can be a big deciding factor for many buyers who don’t want their carbon footprint to become the size of a house.
The importance of a high EPC rating?
Within the UK, it is unlawful to sell or let a house with an EPC lower than the minimum rating ‘E’. A low EPC rating, just within the margin, won’t be able to compete with a high EPC rated property, especially if the buyer is torn between the two properties. Most buyers will opt for the property which costs less to run and produces less carbon emissions.
What is the process?
An EPC is measured in sections, the first section outlines the property’s estimated cost of energy and is divided into three categories: lighting, heating, and hot water. Next is the energy efficiency scale. Like the ratings you see on the back of appliances, this scale measures your property’s overall efficiency from A to C. A potential overall efficiency is also featured, this indicates the potential efficiency of the house if certain improvements were made.
You can find your current or prospective house’s EPC rating on the GOV.uk EPC register website.
How long does an EPC certificate last?
EPCs last for ten years. Already having a valid EPC rating makes for a much quicker process when selling a property, as you aren’t required to get your property’s efficiency re-evaluated. If your EPC has expired, or your property is still to be assessed, you will need to arrange for an EPC rating before you can legally put your property on the market.
How can I improve my EPC rating?
- Double, or even triple, glazed windows provide good insultation and can prevent you from losing around 20% of your property’s heat, therefore you won’t need to waste energy on extra heating.
- Replace your appliances with higher energy ratings. An example of this would be swapping appliances that are ranked B for some that are ranked A++
- Switching to LED lightbulbs could make the last bit of difference for you if your property’s EPC rating is just scraping the margins. These bulbs are energy efficient, eco-friendly and work just as well as regular bulbs.
- Roof or loft insulation is a key factor in boosting your property’s rating as heat rises. With good insulation, you can save up 25% of heat lost through your property.
For more information on EPC ratings, check out our news section.