Domestic Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are being introduced to help improve the energy efficiency of buildings, as part of a series of measures being introduced across Europe to reflect legislation which will help cut buildings’ carbon emissions and tackle climate change.
If you are buying or selling a home you now need a certificate by law. From October 2008 EPC’s will be required whenever a building is built, sold or rented out. The certificate provides ‘A’ to ‘G’ rating for the building, with ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and ‘G’ being the least, with the average up to now being ‘D’.
Measures recommended in the epc could save the average consumer £300 a year off their fuel bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
With EPC’s being introduced today – giving home-buyers a home energy rating, the system will make easier for consumers to get grants to make the improvements recommended in the certificate.
For the first time, the six major energy companies have agreed that when buyers move into their home and sign to an energy contract they will get immediate access and information about ‘green’ grants or offers to consumers. This follows talks with the Government and will help them make their homes more environmentally friendly and cut fuel bills.
In addition, the scheme will include a new portal on the Energy Saving Trust’s website where consumers only need to tap in their postcode to find details of offers available. Once fully rolled out it is estimated that the energy certificates would save nearly a million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020. Consumers who choose to give details from the EPC to suppliers will also receive targeted offers for recommendations in their certificate. This information will not be used for any other purpose and cannot be given to anyone else by the supplier.
For advice on how to take action and to find out about offers available to help make your home more energy efficient.
Domestic Energy Assessor
DEA is a licensed Domestic Energy Assessor, a person who has undergone specific training in energy performance of buildings using RdSAP methodology. RdSAP is an acronym for Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure.
This method is used for smaller domestic dwellings whereas full SAP is applied to new build homes.
The DEA’s job encompasses a number of areas.
The data required to allow the calculation of an EPC includes the following:
The DEA must on arrival at your property conduct a health & safety survey around the exterior and interior of the property – a ‘risk analysis’ to identify potential risks to safety.
The assessor will take dimensions throughout the property to work out the area considered as “space heating” – to determine heat loss through walls and ceilings for example.
Inspection of boilers, room heaters, fireplaces and heating controls will also be surveyed. The type of fuels to heat the home will also be recorded.
Any extensions to the property will be surveyed including the year of build and the construction type noted (eg stone, solid brick, cavity etc.)
The main house construction will be surveyed and the age of build noted.
If an “un-separated” Conservatory is present the dimensions and build age will also be recorded if one exists. For the purpose of doubt a “separated” conservatory is one where access to the conservatory is through an exterior quality door and is exempt from the energy survey.
The property will be inspected to establish what insulation is present, both in walls and loft. Loft access is required if there is one (assessor must use their own ladder).
Types of glazing and low energy lighting will also be recorded.
All data will be recorded on a property datasheet or PDA for download into a specialised computer program, which analyses the data and produces an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).
The DEA will then issue the EPC to client or agent and explain the report findings.
When did the obligations to provide EPC’s for rented dwellings come into force?
1 October 2008.
When did the obligations to provide EPC’s for the sale of dwellings come into force?
For the marketed sale of dwellings this requirement started on 1 August 2007. For other types of sale, such as non-marketed sales, this requirement started on 1 October 2008.
When did the obligations for newly constructed dwellings come into force?
6 April 2008.
How long is an EPC valid for?
Where does the 10 year validity period come from?
The requirement for an EPC is driven by the European Union legislation, which includes a provision that the validity period of EPC’s should not exceed 10 years.
Where can I find an energy assessor?
Fully accredited energy assessors can be found at Complete EPC
Can a landlord charge a tenant for the provision of an EPC?
No. It is not permitted for the landlord to charge for the provision of the original EPC. However it is permissible for a tenant who has already received the EPC to be charged for the provision of a copy document.
How do I decide whether to keep the work in-house or use an external contractor?
This is a decision for individuals. A key factor to consider when choosing between in-house and external DEAs will be the number of dwellings that require EPC’s and the expected frequency of turnover.
Is it possible to amend and update an EPC without the need to commission a new assessment? A new EPC may be wanted for example if a replacement boiler is fitted.
An EPC cannot be amended or updated. If you want to capture the benefits of any energy efficiency measure that you have installed, you will need to commission a new EPC, for which a new survey will be required. However, if the work has been funded through the Green Deal, a new assessment is not required, provided that suitable evidence that the work has been done is available.
Is it always the building owner who is responsible for producing the EPC? What if the building owner has no direct relationship with the tenants?
Where a tenant sub-lets a dwelling, the responsibility to make an EPC available lies with the sub leaseholder.
Who has access to the EPC’s on the domestic register?
Data held on the domestic register is publicly available. It is possible to search for an EPC on the register by entering either the certificate’s unique reference number (RRN), or the property’s postcode. Anyone with an EPC can opt out of having their data made publicly available.
Are asset management databases available that can hold property specific reduced data standard assessment procedure (RdSAP) input data and the central register reference number in addition to the other asset details?
These are being developed by the market in response to a recognised need.
Is it possible to advertise a property before the EPC has been produced?
There is nothing to prevent a dwelling being advertised for sale or rent before the EPC is available. However, the landlord/seller will be expected to have made contact with a domestic energy assessor and commissioned the EPC with a view to receiving it within one week of the date it was commissioned.
If an EPC is being produced when the dwelling is empty, what impact will occupying tenants or owners have on the accuracy of the energy and environmental ratings when they move in?
The occupier will have no impact on the EPC ratings, as these are produced using standardised occupancy data (i.e. number of occupants and hours of heating per day).
What if the tenant wants to buy the dwelling they already occupy? Can I use the same EPC as I used when they took the tenancy?
If the tenant wants to purchase the dwelling they rent, the same EPC can be used.
Is an EPC needed if tenants are moving via a mutual exchange?
Whether advertised for exchange via a choice based lettings system or not an EPC will be required.
Is an EPC needed for shared ownership dwellings?
The first equity purchase of the dwelling creates a trigger for an EPC to be produced. The purchase of subsequent equity does not create a need for a further EPC.
What happens in the case of stock transfer? Can we have one EPC for a whole block in that case?
For a stock transfer an EPC is required for each dwelling. However, it may be possible to employ techniques which will reduce the number of dwellings that need to be assessed. Separate guidance is available on these.
What happens if I need to get an EPC to advertise the property, but I am going to improve before the new tenant moves in/ the sale is completed?
Either explains to the tenant or buyer that improvement works were carried out since commissioning the EPC and so the dwelling’s energy efficiency rating may now have changed. It may be beneficial to commission another EPC after completion of the improvements.
Will I have to issue an EPC if I have a lodger in my house?
A letting of a room within your house does not constitute a rental of a building or part of a building – so a separate EPC for that room is not required.
Will I need to show an EPC to prospective residents of, for example, a care home or a boarding school?
These examples do not constitute a rental of a building or a part of a building. Therefore, an EPC is not required.
Is an EPC required under a long term regulated tenancy where a tenant dies and a partner, member of their family or other individual is able to succeed to the tenancy under the Rent Act 1977?
Under such circumstances an EPC is not required.
Will an EPC be needed for holiday accommodation?
An EPC will be required for a property rented out as a holiday let where the building is occupied as a result of a short term letting arrangement and is rented out for a combined total of four months or more in any 12 month period. An EPC will not be required where the property is let under a licence to occupy, regardless of the length of time it is rented out for.
Do static caravans or houseboats require an EPC?
No – static caravans and houseboats do not require an EPC because they are not buildings.