Understanding Your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Over the last 18 months, we have seen our energy bills more than double. Following the pandemic and subsequent economic restrictions, life has returned to normal. As a result, demand for gas started to increase at a time when there was a shortage forcing prices to rise. This was made worse with renewable sources such as solar and wind power were producing less energy during the winter when demand spiked. The increase in gas prices meant that some energy suppliers across the UK went out of business. Add to this the invasion of Ukraine, supplies were threatened, and prices increased even higher. Russia is one of the world’s largest oil and gas suppliers, supplying Europe with 40% of its energy in 2021.
An EPC is a legal requirement when you sell your property. a The most common EPC rating for homes in the UK is a D, so this is a good benchmark to aim for. If your home is newly built, it should have an EPC rating of A or B – only around 4% of existing homes reach this rating. If you have a rating of E, F or G, you’ll need to consider improving your rating to improve the value.
Although the EPC rating is important, it’s not the only thing the certificate will give a buyer. It shows your buyer how much energy your home uses and the cost, and recommendations of how to make the home more efficient – giving buyers an idea of how much they will need to spend to make the home energy efficient, which can lead to negotiations on price.
When you put your home on the market, you will need a valid EPC within seven days, and your estate agent will help you to organise this. If you don’t have a valid EPC, you risk a fine of up to £5,000. If you aren’t selling or renting your property, you don’t need a valid EPC, but it can give you information on how to improve your property and reduce your bills.
The EPC is valid for 10 years even if it changes hands in that time. However, if you make changes to the property in terms of insulation, windows, heating or lighting, it would be beneficial to get a new one as this will be beneficial to you when it comes to the value and price negotiations.
To find the EPC rating of your home, search for your address on the Scottish Energy Performance Certificate Register and download it as a PDF.
All EPCs must be carried out by someone who’s accredited. You can find one on the government’s register: Find an EPC assessor in Scotland
When you have an EPC rating of your property, a certified assessor will thoroughly review the interior and exterior of your property to evaluate how much energy is currently used and how much carbon dioxide it produces. This includes checking:
- Walls and roof
- Age and size
- Heating system
- Fireplaces or wood burner
- Renewable energy sources
You can obtain a digital copy of your EPC once it has been completed.
Homes that don’t require an EPC
If your property is protected, listed or located in a conservation area you might not need an EPC. This is because the improvements required would alter the property, which may not be allowed. In addition, homes that are holiday lets for less than four months a year or let under a licence to occupy don’t need an EPC. Residential buildings not used over four months a year and buildings due to be demolished don’t need a certificate.
You may not need one if your home is listed, protected or in a conservation area. It’s because energy-efficient improvements could alter the property’s appearance too much.
EPC and rental properties
For rental properties, it’s required that it has a rating of E or above, or landlords could face a £5,000 penalty. New rules coming in mean that all new tenancies must have a rating of C or above by 2025 with a penalty of £30,000 if it doesn’t meet this target. And by 2028 all rental homes need to have a rating of EPC of C or above even if they have an existing tenancy.