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What is an EPC – and why does it matter?

September 23, 2021
Information published was correct at the time of writing

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Whether you’re selling or renting out your home, you are legally required to provide buyers and/or tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

An EPC shows information about your home’s energy use and its typical energy costs. It also includes recommendations about how you can reduce energy and save money.

Your EPC will give your home an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) – and it’s valid for at least 10 years. To get an EPC, you’ll need to book an appointment with a qualified assessor.

At the moment, mortgage providers do not consider a home’s EPC rating when making a mortgage offer, although the Government is considering whether this should change.

The Government wants all homes to have an EPC rating of C or above before 2035, “where practical, cost-effective and affordable”. However, according to a survey by NatWest, a C rating was seen as ‘non-essential’ by 85 percent of home-buyers.

This isn’t surprising when you consider that, according to another survey – this time by Right Move – over three in five homes have a rating of D or below: something that reflects the advanced age of a lot of British housing.

While a D rating isn’t seen as a deal-breaker for buyers, the NatWest survey shows that some energy-saving measures are seen as essential.

The leading three are double glazing (34 percent of buyers), loft insulation (24 percent) and cavity wall insulation (20 percent). Charging points for electric vehicles are likely to join this trio soon.

While homeowners and buyers seem relaxed about energy saving, there could be trouble on the horizon: namely, the oil or gas boilers that provide heat and power to so many British homes and which are responsible for 20 percent of the UK’s carbon emissions.

As the Government aims for ‘net zero’ by 2035, the focus will be on replacing these with electric or air-source ‘heat pumps’. A heat pump transfers thermal energy from a cooler space to a warmer area using the refrigeration cycle. At present, they cost around £10,000, but Octopus energy recently announced it could halve their cost to £5,000. It’s something to think about if you’re looking at replacing your boiler.

While an EPC may not be a priority for homeowners, buyers or renters at the moment, as we move forward it’ll play an increasingly important part in the property-buying process. Making sure your home has a C or above rating is therefore something to aim for in the mid-to-long term.

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