Did you know that buildings produce nearly half of the UK’s carbon emissions? Each household in the UK creates around six tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. That’s six times the weight of the rubbish a household throws away in a year. It’s also double the carbon dioxide emissions that the average car produces in a year. The average household could save around 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by making their home energy efficient.
By Paul Robinson, CEO Ezylet.com – 25 June 2008
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.
By October 2008 all buildings rented out will require one. The EPC gives home owners, tenants and buyers information on the energy efficiency of their property by providing ‘A’ to ‘G’ ratings for the building, with ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and ‘G’ being the least, with the average to date being ‘D/E’.
EPCs only apply to England and Wales (Northern Ireland and Scotland are producing their own regulations) and will be required by law.
Landlords will need to provide an EPC which will be valid for ten years, to prospective tenants, the first time they let or re-let a property after 1 October 2008 while letting agents will need to get EPCs for properties they are marketing to new tenants.
There is no need to obtain a certificate for existing tenants.
There have been some reports saying there will be flexibility regarding the October deadline but the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has refuted these reports. The DCLG also rebuffed any claims of a shortage of assessors needed to provide the EPCs, adding: ‘We have more than 50 assessors, which we estimated as enough to meet demand’.
The requirement for the issue of an EPC is set out in regulation 5 of The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/991, which demands that a prospective tenant be provided with an EPC at the earliest opportunity and certainly prior to entering into any contract to rent out the property.
EPCs are measured using the same calculations for all homes, so you can compare the energy efficiency of different properties, and can only be produced by accredited energy assessors, which may be employed by a company (such as an estate agent of energy company) or be independent traders. Always check they operate as part of an accreditation scheme, as this ensures the energy assessor is operating to professional standards.
EPCs are produced alongside an associated report which lists improvements to make a building more energy efficient. This report will suggest the potential rating that your property could achieve if you made the recommended changes, approximate costs and possible cost savings per year.
You do not have to act on the recommendations contained in the recommendation report. However, if you do decide to do so, then it could make your property more attractive (you can issue a new EPC) for sale or rent by making it more energy efficient. You will also contribute to cutting carbon emissions.
The price of an EPC is set by the accredited organisations which issue them. An EPC on its own should cost approximately £100 for an average house.
Obtaining an EPC for an average sized home is likely to take the same time as that for a house valuation report which has to be prepared when a property is put up for sale. The exact time will vary from property to property.
Below is a list of approved accredited schemes for EPCs for existing dwellings or new builds:
NES – www.nher.co.uk
BRE – www.bre.co.uk/accreditation
Elmhurst – www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk
Northgate – www.northgate-ispublicservices.com
Stroma – www.stroma.com
RICS – www.rics.org/hips
ECMK Ltd – www.ecmk.co.uk
Quidos – www.quidos.co.uk
HVCA – www.hicertification.co.uk
CIBSE – www.cibse.org
Knauf – www.knauf.co.uk
CIAT – www.ciat.org.uk
NAPIT – www.napit.org.uk
Energy Saving Trust:
Friends of the Earth:
[All above websites accessible: 25 June 2008]