Communities and Local Government has introduced measures in England and Wales to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, including:
- introducing energy performance certificates (EPCs) for properties providing A-G efficiency ratings and recommendations for improvement
- requiring public buildings to display energy certificates (DECs)
- requiring inspections for air conditioning systems
- giving advice and guidance for boiler users
Since October 2008 all properties – homes, commercial and public buildings – when bought, sold, built or rented need an EPC. Larger public buildings also need to display an energy certificate.
- by 4 January 2009 the first inspection of all existing air-conditioning systems over 250 kW must have occurred. The first inspection of all remaining air-conditioning systems over 12 kW must have happened by 4 January 2011.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for all homes whenever built, rented or sold. If you are buying or selling a home it is now law to have a certificate. They are also required on construction of new homes and are needed for rented homes the first time the property is let after 1 October 2008.
The certificate records how energy efficient a property is as a building and provides A-G ratings. These are similar to the labels now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.
They are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.
An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures (such as low and zero carbon generating systems) to improve the energy rating. A rating is also given showing what could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.
The certificate is important because nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions arise from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively minor changes in energy performance and the way we use each building will have a significant effect in reducing energy consumption.
EPCS are produced by accredited energy assessors.