There is a lot of jargon in the world of energy. Some of it is easy to get your head around, while other bits seem utterly indecipherable. One area that causes confusion for individuals is that of energy performance certificates, otherwise known as EPCs. In this article we are going to explain what EPC labels mean and what factors are taken into consideration when assigning an energy rating to a property. By the end of this article you’ll be fully versed in EPCs and ready to share your knowledge with the rest of the world.
What Is an EPC Rating?
Let’s start with the very basics. What does an EPC tell us and why is it important? Briefly, EPC ratings tell a would-be buyer or renter how energy efficient a house or flat is. This is important because a house that has good energy efficiency will have lower energy bills and a lower impact on the environment. An EPC assessor will assess a property and look at the amount of energy used per square meter and the level of carbon emissions released by the house. After a brief survey, the assessor will assign the house a rating from A to G, A being the most efficient and G being the least.
Once a house has an EPC rating, it is valid for ten years. If you look at a property that has one older than this, you should alert them to the fact and request a new one. Similarly, you will not be able to sell or rent your property without an up-to-date EPC. This is one reason why an EPC is important. Another is that when buyers and renters are deciding between several different properties, the EPC rating can be a deal breaker. Everyone would rather have a highly efficient property over one that is not very efficient. Of course, if you are selling your property and are not satisfied with your rating, there are things you can do to improve it before you list your house on the market.
Understanding the Different Sections of an EPC
The first section on the EPC is the estimated costs of running the house. This is divided into heating, lighting, and hot water. This does not take appliances into account and you should bear in mind that energy costs are forever fluctuating. This next section contains the letter grade of the property. Most houses in the UK are graded D, but this may change in the next decade or so as people find more innovative ways to make their homes energy efficient.
Next, is a section detailing actions you can take to improve energy efficiency, such as installing solar panels. This is more suitable for buyers than renters as it could involve a costly one-off construction or installation. The following sections contain a breakdown of the house’s energy features and its heating demand.
In the final sections you will find whether the house has the benefit of any low or zero emission energy sources; recommendations for how to improve your house’s EPC rating; and, finally, the environmental impact of your building. The impact is determined by how much carbon dioxide is produced by your home.