The domestic energy performance certificate (EPC) is a certificate of how environmentally friendly your home is in terms of energy efficiency and carbon emissions. It is also a legal requirement for any property being built, sold, or rented in the UK.

But more than this, the certificate also provides a detailed understanding of how your property uses energy and how any prospective buyer or tenant can save money on energy bills and help fight back against climate change.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, carbon dioxide emissions from buildings account for around 34% of the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

Worse than this, one of their more recent reports suggests that energy-use in UK homes increased between 2016 and 2017.

As the legislation was first introduced in 2007, many domestic EPCs are expiring now. This makes it more important than ever to check that your EPC is up to date. Here’s a reminder of what a domestic EPC is, how long they last, who requires one and what is assessed during an inspection.

What is Domestic EPC?

A Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a rating of how energy-efficient and environmentally friendly your residential property is.

The ratings are divided into ‘bands’ which are grades on a sliding scale from ‘A’ for the most energy-efficient properties and ‘G’ for the worst. As well as providing a summary of your home’s performance, the certificate also indicates how much you can expect to pay for energy, how much carbon dioxide your home is likely to release, and how you can make improvements to increase your rating.

If you need an EPC, a qualified assessor will visit your home and conduct an inspection of several factors in your home. This includes checking your windows, wall and roof insulation, lighting efficiency, and so on.

The energy assessor will then calculate the EPC rating of your home. This report will include details about the energy efficiency of your home and the environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions. It will also provide you with a summary of your home, suggest improvements you could make, and share what rating you could achieve if you made these suggested changes.

Your details will then be entered into the public EPC database which can be viewed by entering the property address or reference number. You can opt-out of the database at any time.

How long does a domestic EPC last?

A domestic energy performance certificate lasts for 10 years from the date it was issued. If your domestic EPC was produced when the new legislation was introduced, you may need to provide a new EPC now. You can check the certificate itself or visit the online database for more information if you believe this to be the case.

Who requires a Domestic EPC?

Anyone building, selling, or renting a property is required by law to have an EPC. This will tell potential buyers or tenants how energy efficient the property is, what the fuel bills are expected to be, and whether there are improvements to be made.

It’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the property has a valid EPC when it is placed onto the market so if you doubt that yours is valid, it’s time to commission a new one.

What is assessed within a Domestic EPC?

When the domestic EPC assessor visits your home, he or she will look at various aspects of your home.

This will include:

  • The size and dimensions of your living space
  • The construction of your house
  • Whether or not you have insulation
  • The lighting you use (only fixed fittings)
  • The energy efficiency of your boilers
  • Your central heating controls
  • Your loft space
  • Your hot water tank
  • Heating system and controls
  • Whether you have double-glazing and when this was installed
  • Whether you have a conservatory

The assessor may also take photographs which will be used for audit purposes.

Summary

A domestic energy performance certificate will help prospective buyers or tenants understand how energy-efficient the property is, how much they’re likely to spend in fuel bills, and how they can make changes to have a greener, more environmentally friendly home.

Valid for 10 years, they’re also a legal requirement when building, selling or renting a property so ensure you check that yours is up to date before you put your home on the market.