EPC ratings explained
What is an EPC rating?
EPC stands for energy performance certificate. It refers to a home energy survey and the rating and information produced as a result. EPCs explain how energy efficient your property currently is and offer suggested improvements you could implement to improve its energy efficiency. EPCs are a legal requirement whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. It is currently illegal for landlords of domestic private rented homes to rent out properties with a rating below E. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which are detailed here and here.
Even if you are not currently looking at selling or renting out your property, it is a good idea to find out your EPC rating to reduce both your energy bills and carbon emissions.
EPC ratings are between A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). You can access any home on the register on the government’s website. You can also click here for the Scottish EPC register.
How is an EPC rating calculated?
An EPC rating is based on how much energy your property uses and loses. The assessor will calculating the rating with the Standard Assessment Procedure, or SAP score, and then use that to determine the overall EPC rating. SAP is the government’s recommended system.
The assessor will take into account many factors including how efficient the heating system is, how well insulated the property is, what energy source is being used, and whether the property uses any renewable energy sources. SAP scores are out of 100. The higher the number, the better the energy performance certificate.
SAP scores are divided into 7 bands ranging from A-G. Each band has a set amount of SAP points. You can have a low or high grading within the bands. For example, a low C would be 70 and a high C would be 76. These differences might seem minor but they can alter what is installed.
B: Low B is 80.5 to 85.9. High B is 86 to 91.4
C: Low C is 68.5 to 74.4. High C is 74.5 to 80.4.
D: Low D is 54.5 to 61.4. High D is 61.5 to 68.4.
E: Low E is 38.5 to 46.4. High E is 46.5 to 54.4.
F: Low F is 20.5 to 29.4. High F is 29.5 to 38.4.
G: Low G is 10.5 and below. High G is 10.5 to 20.4.
How do you get an EPC rating?
If you need an EPC rating for your property then a good first place to look is the government website. To get an EPC rating you need an energy assessment survey conducted by a domestic energy assessor.
These assessments take about an hour and cost about £70. The assessor will have to check insulation, roofs, walls, windows, lighting, your heating system, renewable energy devices, fireplaces, and the building’s size and age.
What is a good EPC rating?
Ratings of C or above are considered good or recommended. Having a C rating might also soon become the law for renting and selling. With the UK government pushing ahead to meet the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it is increasingly likely that all UK homes will need to have an EPC rating of C or above to meet this.
What does EPC rating D mean?
In 2022, the average EPC rating in England and Wales was a high D.
Flats and maisonettes were the most energy efficient types of property, with a median EPC rating of C. Dwellings constructed more recently have higher energy efficiency scores than older dwellings.
According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the average energy running cost for a home with an EPC rating of C in England is about £300 cheaper than for a band D home. It was calculated at £740 less than for a band E home.
How can a good EPC rating benefit me?
The home upgrades which improve EPC ratings will benefit you in several major ways:
• They will reduce your carbon emissions and improve the energy efficiency of your home.
• Lower your energy bills. Installing efficiency measures will lower your consumption which will then reduce your energy bills.
• Improve your chances of selling your property. Estate agents have reported that it takes longer to sell a property with a low EPC rating, and that there will be a significant increase in buyers seeking properties rated C or above.
Tips to improve your EPC rating
The following installs would improve your rating:
• Energy efficient lighting
• Insulation of walls, your loft, and flooring
• Double glazing
• Upgrading your heating system and heating controls
• Solar panels
If you cannot afford to have these home upgrades installed yourself, there are a number of government funding schemes available to help. Read more about the ECO scheme here, the ECO+ scheme here, and other types of government grant to make your property more energy efficient here. If you are a landlord, you can apply for these schemes if your tenants qualify, and you can also read more here about funding to boost the rating of your property. For many of these schemes your property must have an energy performance certificate carried out prior to any installations. It usually always has to have a rating of E or below to qualify.
Do mortgage lenders look at EPC ratings?
In 2022, Moneysupermarket.com found a clear correlation between better energy efficiency ratings and higher house prices. If you are buying or renting a property however, the more energy efficient the home is, the lower your energy bills will be.
According to HSBC, “It can sometimes be difficult to get a mortgage on a property with a low energy performance certificate”. Due to the impact that inefficient homes have on the environment, lenders will take poor ratings into account when making lending decisions. HSBC also state that “If the property you’re looking to buy has an EPC below what we might expect, and little room to improve it with recommended measures, you could find your application is rejected.”
How often do EPCs need renewing?
An EPC is always required when a building is constructed, sold, or rented out. Property advertisements online must include a description of the EPC rating or feature the certificate itself. Unless renovation or energy related work is carried out on the property, your EPC rating can last 10 years.
What properties are exempt from an EPC?
According to gov.uk, if you can demonstrate that the building is any of the following then it can be exempt:
• Listed or officially protected
• It is a temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less
• It is a place of worship
• An industrial site, workshop, or non-residential agricultural building
• Detached buildings with a total floor space under 50 square metres
• If it is due to be demolished
• It is due to be sold or rented out with vacant possession
The bottom line
EPC ratings will only become a more important part of the home buying and selling process with the rising demand for “green” properties. It is worth being clued up on EPCs. Even if you are not looking to sell a property soon, you could save money and time down the line for yourself if you check your EPC and implement the relevant improvements.