What is an EPC and why do I need one?

Written on 4 November 2019 by Giles Cook in Frequently Asked Questions


How energy efficient is your home? Cutting carbon emissions is big news at the moment, so whether you’re buying or renting, selling or letting, you need to know about energy performance certificates (EPCs).

EPCs measure how energy efficient your home is. While they’ve been around for a while – since 2013 in fact – they are now more important than ever.

energy-performance-certificate-EPC-assessments-during-the-coronavirus-crisis

 

It is estimated that buildings produce half of the UK’s carbon emissions – double the environmental impact of cars and planes. So, as we all wake up to the need to lighten our carbon footprint, the home is a good place to start.

If you are selling a property that is already energy efficient, a good EPC rating can be a powerful marketing tool. In Belgravia, for example, properties with an EPC rating of C are typically worth 15% more than similar ones with an EPC rating of E.

If you’re a buyer, a high EPC rating is a good indication that a property will be warm and efficient to heat with lower energy bills.

For landlords EPCs are even more crucial. Since 2018 it has been a legal requirement that domestic properties meet the minimum energy efficiency standard of an EPC E rating before they can be rented out. This currently applies to new tenancies but from April 2020 it will apply to all rental properties.

What is an EPC?

EPCs are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. Homeowners and landlords must order an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before marketing a property for sale or rent.

EPC home reports contain:

  • Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs.
  • Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. You will need to appoint an accredited assessor to carry out the EPC inspection and your estate agent or letting agent must be given a copy of the report.

The EPC inspection takes less than an hour and includes an internal and external assessment. Qualified domestic energy assessors will inspect or measure the property’s:

  • Exterior walls
  • Roof insulation
  • Floor
  • Windows
  • Open fireplaces
  • Boiler
  • Lighting
  • Heating system
  • Heating controls
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Ventilation system
  • Conservatory and extensions.

You can look at the EPCs of other properties free of charge by visiting the online EPC register. This lets you compare your home’s energy performance with that of similar properties. You can search by the property’s address or by the EPCs report reference number.

Listed buildings

Many homes in Belgravia and surrounding areas are listed buildings. If you own a listed building, you may find it difficult to make energy efficient adaptations without altering the character of your property. So long as you can prove that you’ve implemented as many energy efficiency measures as possible, you may be exempt from achieving an E rating. You should, however, get advice from your local authority conservation officer first.

Leasehold properties

If you own a leasehold property you may also need to contact the freeholder about energy efficient changes which affect the structure of the property. Always check the provisions in the lease.

Ways to improve your property’s EPC rating

To improve your EPC rating first examine your existing EPC report. The recommendations page will list measures you can take to improve the energy performance of the property.

In addition, there are a few things you could do to improve your rating:

1. Replace your light bulbs with LEDs

Replace your halogen spotlights with LED bulbs – these energy saving lights are a cheap and easy way to up your EPC rating.

2. Check your insulation

A quarter of household heat is lost through the roof, but loft insulation is easy to install and relatively inexpensive.

3. Install double glazing

Single glazed windows can be responsible for 40% of the heat loss in your house. Modern high-performance double glazing will make a significant difference to the energy efficiency of a home.

4. Replace the boiler

The heating system accounts for a large chunk of a property’s energy use. If you have an old, inefficient boiler, a new one could make a big impact on your EPC and cut heating bills substantially.

5. Consider green energy adaptations

Adding solar panels or other innovative measures such as biomass boilers can really improve your EPC score and are essential if you’re aiming for the highest rating possible.

Find out more

Find out more about energy efficiency and EPCs on the government website gov.uk.

If you’re thinking of selling property in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Pimlico, South Kensington or Westminster, and would like advice about EPCs, or any other aspect of marketing your home, contact Best Gapp today.

Giles Cook

Giles recently joined Best Gapp in 2017 as Partner Designate and Head of Residential Agency, bringing over 20 years’ experience to the firm. Following a three-year stint as an Area Director for Foxtons, he went on to head up Chestertons’ sales and lettings operations in central London, before becoming a Partner at top Knightsbridge boutique WA Ellis.

All articles by Giles Cook

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