Getting an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

When you sell or rent a property, it’s important to have an EPC. Find out how to get yours.

Woman holding a tablet

Getting an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

An EPC rating, or Energy Performance Certificate rating, gives you a general idea of how energy-efficient a property is. The EPC rating uses a scale from A–G, with A representing the most efficient and G standing for the least efficient. Energy Performance Certificates last for 10 years.

A higher energy efficient rating can give you a better return on your investment by adding value to your property. EPCs also give you recommendations on how you can improve your rating and show the money you could save if you do. Plus, EPC reports help prospective buyers or renters make informed choices. Low ratings mean energy bills will be higher than a property with a better rating.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll reveal who needs an EPC, how to check if you have one, how much they cost, and more.

Do I need an EPC?

Selling? - EPCs are a legal requirement for homeowners if you want to sell your property. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to have one.

Renting? - EPCs are essential if you’re a landlord. Since 1 April 2018, any private rented properties in the UK must meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES). This was introduced to raise the standards of rental properties and inspire landlords to make them more energy efficient.

You can rent your property if it meets an EPC band E rating or above. It’s illegal to rent a property if your rating falls under F or G. You can, however, make improvements to raise the rating. As a landlord, you’ll never be expected to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) to do so.

If it’s not possible to reach an E rating, then you can make all the improvements possible up to the value of £3,500 (including VAT). You can then register for an ‘all improvements made’ exemption.

There’s more information about exemptions on the government guidance website.

Check if you have an EPC using the EPC register

Before you decide to get an EPC, be sure you check if your property already has one, as they’re valid for 10 years.

If you’re in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, use the government’s service to check if you have an existing EPC.

If you’re in Scotland, there’s a different way to check for energy certificates.

How is an EPC carried out?

EPC ratings are awarded by accredited energy assessors. There isn’t a set price – it varies depending on the size, location and type of building it is. You can expect to pay between £60 and £120. Details in our article explains how to get and EPC and how much one is.

Assessors carry out visual inspections through measured surveys, including taking photographs. They’ll look at the entire property when calculating an EPC rating. Elements include:

  • Windows – The more glazing there is, the higher the EPC rating.
  • Lighting – The number of fixed lighting and low-energy light bulbs will be checked.
  • Heating – This is the biggest part of an EPC rating calculation. Assessors note the time and heat controls of thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves. They'll also check for any other forms of heating, such as log, coal or gas.
  • Loft insulation – Assessors will look inside the lofts to see if it needs insulation and if so, how much. They’ll also check what kind of wall you have separating your property from any neighbours.

Energy Performance Certificate assessors may question the construction of the property. For example, they'll need to know if any additional work has been done since it was built. As assessors are regularly audited and need to ensure any measurements they take are accurate.

To get a new energy certificate, start the process on the government’s online system.

What information is contained in an EPC?

Energy Performance Certificates may differ in appearance depending on when they were issued and where in the UK you live. But the sections and information contained in an EPC report is always the same.


Energy costs

The first section shows estimates of the property’s current and potential energy bills. This is useful information if you’re looking to buy or rent a property as you’ll know how much your bills are going to cost. It will also tell you how low your bills could be if the rating is improved.

The costs included on an EPC cover:

  • heating
  • hot water
  • lighting.

EPCs don’t cover energy costs caused by home appliances such as TVs, ovens or fridges. It’s worth bearing this in mind because it means your bills will always be higher than what you see on an EPC.


Energy efficiency rating

The next section of your Energy Performance Certificate is a visual comparison of property performance. It’s like the energy labels on home appliances, with different ratings represented as a multicoloured bar chart. Your current and potential ratings are matched against the chart. This makes it easy to compare what rating you could achieve if you carry out suggested improvements.


Actions to take

Below the EPC rating, you’ll find a list of recommended measures you can take. On the right, you'll see

  • an estimated cost of each measure
  • the savings you could make
  • whether the measures are available through finance.


Performance

The next page includes a:

  • summary of each property element (e.g. walls, windows, hot water)
  • description of each element
  • house energy efficiency rating from one-to-five stars. Five is the highest rating.

If you’re comparing properties when looking to rent or buy, this table is useful to compare with other buildings.


Heat demand

The heat demand table shows the demand in kWh of space heating and water heating of the property, plus the energy that would be saved with:

  • loft insulation
  • cavity wall insulation
  • solid wall insulation.

Recommendations

This important section provides a detailed breakdown of the:

  • recommended measures to take to improve your EPC rating
  • estimated costs of the measures
  • estimated savings you could make.

Plus, it will show how much each measure would improve your energy efficiency rating. The measures are listed in order of importance. Watch our video to find out more about how to improve your EPC rating.

Watch our video to find out more about how to improve your EPC rating.

How to improve your EPC rating video.

How much does an EPC cost?

The price of an Energy Performance Certificate varies but you should expect to pay between £60 and £120. The cost of an EPC depends on the provider and a number of factors, including:

  • the location of the property
  • the type of building
  • the size of the building.

The bigger the building and the higher the house prices nearby, the more you should expect to pay. The cost covers the survey, which is completed by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor, plus the production of the certificate.

Although you can get an EPC through your estate agent, it may cost more.

How long does an EPC last?

EPCs are valid for 10 years. They were first introduced in 2007, so you may want to check to see if you still have one. You can check using the government website if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you’re in Scotland, check the Scottish EPC register.

What to do when you see a low EPC rating

If you see a low rating, bear in mind that EPCs don‘t go into great depth. For example, they don’t take into account the number of people living in the property at the time, a factor that will affect how much energy is being used. What it does do is give you a guide to the energy efficiency of the property – and often will show you the worse-case scenario.

Remember to take into account the age of the EPC rating. It could be that there have been some changes and updates to the format. So, if you have an old EPC, it might not list some of the areas mentioned in this article.

  • Can I issue my own Energy Performance Certificate?

    No, it’s not possible to issue an energy rating yourself. You might be offered the service through an estate or letting agent, but it may be cheaper to have the assessment completed independently.

    Does a smart meter improve an EPC rating?

    Although a smart meter isn’t going to radically improve your EPC rating, they do make you more aware of your energy usage, which could help you reduce it.

    How much value will an EPC add to my property?

    An EPC rating may not directly add value to a property. But you need an energy rating certificate if you want to sell. It’s also worth considering that potential buyers may see an energy efficient home as a good prospect.

    I’m going to buy/rent a new home – do I have to pay for an EPC?

    No, as a buyer or renter you don’t have to pay for an EPC – it’s the responsibility of the seller or the landlord.

    How long will an EPC assessment take?

    It depends on the size of the property, but an EPC assessment from a registered expert shouldn’t take much more than an hour.

Homeowner Inspiration

Inspirational ideas for big or small changes for your home.

Homeowner Inspiration articles