Energy Performance Certificates.
The European Parliament Directive 2002/91/EC, better known as the European Building Performance Directive was introduced to address the significant issue of energy use in buildings. Buildings account for almost 50 per cent of energy consumed in the UK and any attempt to limit climate change through carbon dioxide emissions necessitates a national strategy for reduction of carbon based energy use in buildings.
Energy Performance Certificates are required on the Sale, Rent or Construction of ALL buildings, whether Commercial, Residential or a mix of both.
EPCs show how energy efficient a property is as a building and provides an A-G rating. These are similar to the labels now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. They are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.
An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures (such as low and zero carbon generating systems) to improve the energy rating. A rating is also given showing what could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.
Homes currently account for 27 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions. The way that we light, heat and use our homes all contribute to this. Even small improvements to the energy performance and the way we use our homes could have a significant effect on our fuel bills and carbon emissions.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced to help improve the energy efficiency of all buildings – including homes. It is now law to have an EPC when constructing, selling or renting out all domestic properties. An EPC is intended to inform potential buyers or tenants about the energy performance of a building, so they can consider energy efficiency as part of their investment or business decision to buy or occupy that building.
It is the responsibility of the person selling or renting a building to have a valid EPC to show to prospective buyers and tenants. The EPC must be given to the eventual buyer or tenant. An EPC is currently valid for ten years.
EPCs for residential property contain two ratings:- 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.
Essentially, the EPC is a plan of how to:
1) Reduce the amount of energy a property uses (and reduce cost).
2) Cut the property’s carbon footprint down to size.
The EPC will provide you with an energy efficiency rating and an environmental impact rating for the property as it stands on the day of the inspection and will make recommendations as to what can be done to improve them both. At first glance it looks very similar to the stickers that you find on many “white goods” like fridges and freezers. It uses a simple A–G scale where ‘A’ rated property will be very energy efficient and properties rated ‘F’ or ‘G’ will be much less efficient. In addition there will be a number of recommended improvements which are split in to categories of cost and it is your choice which ones are cost effective for you to undertake. These improvements are separated into three groups according cost of installation:
1) Low cost measures such as fitting low energy light bulbs.
2) Higher cost measures for example, replacing your boiler.
3) Long term measures may take a long time to pay off in terms of money saved, but they could be worth it in the long run. For example double glazing typically takes many years to pay for itself by keeping the heat in, but it has other advantages such as being very durable, secure and it helps to reduce noise from outside.
It is intended that the average householder will decrease their heating and lighting bills by nearly £300 every year by taking notice of these improvements. They will also help reduce CO2 emissions and help decrease the effects of global warming.
In the past property has not been built with Energy Efficiency or Carbon emissions in mind. The following information may be of interest:
- You are very unlikely to see any ‘A’ and ‘B’ rated properties, even property which is built now to the current building regulations is likely to only have either a ‘B’ or ‘C’ rating.
- The average property across the Island achieves an ‘E’ rating.
- The full 4 page Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) includes a number of improvements that could be made to help improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling. These include a whole range of items, e.g. providing additional roof insulation, installing cavity wall insulation, upgrading heating systems, and other minor improvements like using low energy light bulbs.
- In the future, property that needs to achieve an ‘A’ rating will need to make more use of renewable energy like solar water heating, photovoltaic’s and ground/air source heat pumps.
Click here to view a sample domestic EPC
A commercial EPC will provide an energy rating for a building which is based on the performance potential of the building itself (the fabric) and its services (such as heating, ventilation and lighting). The energy rating given on the certificate reflects the intrinsic energy performance standard of the building relative to a benchmark which can then be used to make comparisons with comparable properties. It is accompanied by a recommendation report, which provides recommendations on how the energy performance of the building could be enhanced, together with an indication of the payback period.
For all homes that are physically completed after April 2008, there is a requirement to provide an EPC to the owner. The EPC produced for newly built properties uses a slightly different methodology to those produced for other properties, due to the ability to access more accurate information about the construction. The EPC needs to be shown to the Building Control officer before a final completion certificate can be issued by them.
We arrange the date, time and access arrangements for the inspection. We will ask you to answer some questions about the property when we arrange the inspection. Don’t worry if you can’t answer some of the questions!
Ideally, it is better if you were present for the inspection so that you can answer any further questions that may arise during the survey. However, if this is not possible we can collect and return your keys by arrangement.
Please have ready any paperwork to do with the house e.g. your boiler manual, extension dates, FENSA certificates and NHER certificate. If you can’t be present, please make sure that the above documents are left for us.
When we inspect the property we will:
- Take internal or external measurements of the property, draw floor plans and make site notes. We will need clear access to all areas of the property to assess the thermal performance and efficiency of the property including the loft, cellar, back garden, meter cupboards, heating systems and their controls, i.e. boilers, timers, hot water cylinders, thermostats, etc.
- Record details of any ‘renewables’ you have
- Photograph some aspects of the property for the report
- It might be necessary to open windows and doors to determine wall thicknesses.
- Take up floorboards or drill into walls. The inspection is purely visual.
- Make you have any improvements done. Our role is to draw up the EPC which will contain recommended changes. It is up to the property owner or the buyer to act on these suggestions.
For an average three bedroom property, the inspection will take between 45 minutes and an hour. If the property is more complex or has multiple extensions it might take longer.
3. Produce report
We produce your report. We endeavour to make the report available on the same day as the inspection.
If you have any general questions about the assessment please don’t hesitate to ask. Please note that specific questions about the property may have to wait until we produce the report.
If you are unhappy with any aspect of the inspection please let us know and we will endeavour to resolve the situation. If necessary, we have a formal complaints process which may lead to an independent decision by our accrediting body.
Contact us to ask a question or to request an EPC.
Order your EPC from us and benefit from all of the following:
We are an entirely independent, local company which means that unlike other organisations we are not under pressure to complete a quota of six or seven inspections per day. We don’t give priority to quantity over quality. We take the time to speak to homeowners, answer questions and perform thorough inspections.
We endeavour to make our EPCs available no more than one working day after inspection so you won’t be waiting around for it to arrive.
You won’t have the problem of the EPC instruction having to go through four or five different parties before it reaches the assessor. We offer a simple direct service without unnecessary delay.
We can set up and manage our own appointments. We can accept instructions over the phone or by email. In addition, you will receive same or next day confirmation of whether we can accept the instruction or not. If you prefer we can make our diary available so you can book in the appointment yourself.
By working with us, you will benefit from the level of dedication and commitment we stand for. Our service is local, streamlined, dedicated and professional. We are fully qualified, accredited, insured, data protection act compliant and CRB checked.
We are all local to the Isle of Wight which means that we have excellent local knowledge that you won’t get with large national providers.
We are very flexible in arranging inspections. We are able to accommodate inspections on bank holidays, Saturdays and out of hours where required.
Similarly, we also have flexible working practices, for example we can collect and return keys if required. We also maintain a range of ways you can get in touch with us so you aren’t waiting for days for a reply to that crucial email you sent or voicemail you left.
Our fees are transparent and competitive with no hidden charges or add-ons.
We can accept EPC instructions for unusual buildings, for example thatched, or exceptionally large properties, or those that are either Listed or within Conservation Areas.
Request an EPC
We are happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please contact us on 01983 522144, or email us with your details (name, address, phone number) and any other relevant information.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The EPC is currently valid for 10 years, although the new coalition government are looking into the possibility of reducing this in order to ensure that the EPC remains relevant and up to date. If an EPC is produced for a property, and works are subsequently carried out, for example replacement windows, installation of roof insulation, it may well be beneficial to produce a new EPC to reflect the changes accurately.
The onus for providing an EPC rests with the Building Owner. This should be available on request to any prospective purchaser and to the purchaser before a contract for sale is made.
* places of worship
* stand-alone buildings of less than 50 square metres (except for dwellings)
* temporary buildings with a planned time of use of 2 years or less
* particular buildings with low energy demand (eg barns)
* in certain limited circumstances buildings to be demolished are exempt from requiring a certificate
an Energy Performance Certificate is not required for any (off-plan) sales or lettings before the construction of the building has been completed.
Confirmation of our credentials can be found by searching for us on the Landmark website. For your peace of mind we all also have up to date CRB checks. We are also fully insured and carry ID cards.
Please get in touch with us and we will do our best to resolve the problem. If you prefer, we also have a complaints procedure.
The penalty for failing to make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant when selling or letting non-dwellings is fixed, in most cases, at 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the building, with a default penalty of £750 where the formula cannot be applied. The range of penalties under this formula are set with a minimum of £500 and capped at a maximum of £5,000. The penalty is £500 for failing to display a DEC at all times in a prominent place clearly visible to the public and £1,000 for failing to have possession of a valid advisory report. In addition to these penalties, it is still necessary to commission the documents.