Why energy performance certificates are required
An Energy Performance Certificate (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.
An 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.
Buildings requiring an energy performance certificate
For the purposes of the regulations, a building is defi ned as:
"a roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately".
For a building to fall within the requirement for an EPC it must:
- Have a roof and walls
- Use energy to condition the indoor climate
Services that are considered to condition the indoor climate are the following fixed services: heating, mechanical ventilation or air-conditioning. Although the provision of hot water is a fixed building service, it does not "condition the indoor environment" and would not therefore be a trigger for an EPC. The same argument applies to electric lighting.
Where a building is expected to have heating, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning installed, it will require an EPC based on the assumed fit out in accordance with the requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations.
A building can be either:
- The whole of a building
- Part of a building, where the part is designed or altered to be used separately
Situations where an EPC is not required
EPCs are not required on construction, sale or rent for:
- Places of worship
- Temporary buildings with a planned time of use of less than two years
- Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m2 that are not dwellings (see glossary of terms for a defi nition of stand-alone)
- Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand (see glossary of terms for a detailed description).
EPCs are not required on sale or rent for buildings due to be demolished. The seller or landlord should be able to demonstrate that:
- The building is to be sold or let with vacant possession
- The building is suitable for demolition and the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment
- They believe, on reasonable grounds, that a prospective buyer or tenant intends to demolish the building (eg on evidence of an application for planning permission).
What are Energy Performance Certificates?
What is an EPC and what does it mean?
The EPC looks broadly similar to the energy labels now provided with vehicles and many household appliances. Its purpose is to indicate how energy efficient a building is. The certificate will provide an energy rating of the building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least efficient. The better the rating, the more energy-efficient the building is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. The energy performance of the building is shown as a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) based index.
Each energy rating is based on the characteristics of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting). Hence this type of rating is known as an asset rating.
The asset ratings will reflect considerations including the age and condition of the building. It is accompanied by a recommendation report, which provides recommendations on using the building more effectively, cost effective improvements to the building and other more expensive improvements which could enhance the building's energy performance.
What an EPC for a non-dwelling contains
In addition to the asset ratings, EPCs must convey several other key pieces of information:
- Reference information - this includes the unique certificate reference number (as stored in the central register), and the date of issue of the certificate
- Energy assessor details - this includes the assessor's name, accreditation number, employer's name (or any trading name if self employed) and accreditation scheme
- Information on how to complain or how to confirm that the certificate is genuine - the certificate will provide information on how to register a complaint about an unsatisfactory EPC and how to check the certificate is authentic.
The certificate is accompanied by a report which includes cost-effective recommendations to improve the energy ratings. For each improvement indicative paybacks are listed.
All EPCs are stored in a national register. The register is the offi cial place for the storage of all EPCs and is the single source of EPC information for a building. Having a register helps to protect consumers. Those in possession of an EPC, such as building owners or tenants, can verify the authenticity of a certificate by using its reference number to check it against the EPC held on the register under that number.
Once EPCs have been registered they cannot be altered. However, EPCs that are in dispute may be annotated on the register to show that they are under investigation. As data is kept on the register for 20 years, more than one EPC may be stored over a number of years for one building. An EPC may be valid for up to 10 years. If there are other certificates for the building on the register that are less than 10 years old only the most recent certificate will be valid.
Energy assessors (through their Accreditation Schemes) lodge each EPC after they produce it, and each is given a unique certificate reference number. Access to the database is restricted, so only those who have the unique reference number can access the certificate registered for a particular building, apart from certain provisions allowing access to accreditation and enforcement bodies, and on an anonymised basis to government.
There are two separate databases within the register, one for dwellings and the other for non-dwellings.
The register is currently operated by Landmark Information Group Limited.