Since 2007, anyone who sells their home in England and Wales needs to get an Energy Performance Certificate, or EPC. An EPC is a rating of energy efficiency, which runs from A at the most efficient, to G, the least efficient. This helps homebuyers work out the rough cost of energy if they move into your property, and with many people now concerned about environmental matters, an efficient home can be a selling point.
Here’s how you can get your EPC and ensure the best possible rating.
What does the EPC tell you?
Not only does the EPC include the current energy efficiency rating from A to G as well as 1-100, it shows the potential rating the property could achieve if certain improvements were carried out. This is useful for those selling homes as fixer-uppers, as it allows you to show the home’s potential. Included in the EPC is the environmental CO2 impact rating, which gives you an idea of the amount of CO2 that will be produced when heating and using hot water in the home.
Do I need to get an EPC?
Most residential properties up for sale since 2007 have needed an EPC, and if you’re renting out a property, you’ll need to get one produced every 10 years.
There are a few exceptions that might apply, although most exemptions are for commercial or religious buildings. If it’s a mixed use building, such as a house that is part of a shop, if it’s less than 50m2 or if it’s used less than four months a year, for example, a holiday home, then you may be exempt.
How is an EPC generated?
EPCs are produced by expert assessors who’ll arrange to visit your property once you’ve decided to sell. The assessor carries out a number of inspections, such as:
- Loft insulation
- Double glazing
- Hot water tank
Once they’ve noted down some information, this is entered into specialist software which helps them calculate how energy efficient your home is, as well as its environmental impact. These measurements are easy to carry out, there’s no drilling or noise, and it’s non-invasive, so there is no risk that things will get damaged.
The homeowner is the one who pays for the EPC, but the good news is that it’s not expensive. It’s easy to compare prices online, and you can use any assessor to do the report, as long as they’re certified.
Improving your EPC
Your report will include a number of ways that you can improve your EPC rating. These will be specific to your property, so it’s worth having a read through them and deciding whether to take action before you sell. If your EPC is particularly low, you may find this puts off potential buyers, so you may want to follow some of the suggestions, for example:
- Adding more loft insulation. Topping up existing insulation can give you a few extra points
- Adding wall insulation. Draughty walls can make a home feel much colder and can lead to energy wastage as you keep turning up the heat
- Upgrading your boiler. A newer condensing model could add up to 20 points to your EPC rating, especially if your current boiler is very old
- Switching to renewable energy. Solar panels and small wind turbines in rural areas can boost your rating. The solar panels will usually give you the most points
- Sealing chimneys. Whilst open fireplaces are a nice feature, if there’s a draft then this can lower your EPC rating. Consider adding a logburner instead
- Keep documentation. EPC assessors only carry out a visual assessment of your insulation, so if you have insulation in inaccessible areas, keep documents when it’s installed to show the assessor
If you’re moving out soon, you may not want to get improvements made, as you won’t personally reap the benefits of them. However, a low rating can put off potential buyers, as they may worry that the house is poorly maintained in general or will be very expensive to heat. It’s better to make changes that will improve your rating the most, such as installing a new boiler.
When it’s time to sell your home, an EPC is a legal requirement, but luckily, it’s a quick, easy process to get your grade. Although it may seem like a pain when you have a million things to do, it’s easy to find an assessor, and you may find it useful to have some tailored suggestions on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
For further help with your EPC, please contact us and we will be happy to advise and recommend.