Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced in England and Wales on 1 August 2007 as part of Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties with four or more bedrooms. Over time this requirement was extended to smaller properties.
When the requirement for HIPs was removed in May 2010, the requirement for EPCs continued. The scheme for HIPs was extended to include three bedroom homes from 10 September 2007. Rental properties, which have a certificate valid for 10 years, were also included on new tenancies commencing on or after 1 October 2008.
They are a result of European Union Directive 2002/91/EC, relating to the energy performance of buildings as transposed into British law by the Housing Act 2004 and The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/991).
However, EPCs have been criticised by many professional bodies for their inaccuracy, and low reliability for old and listed buildings.
The energy survey needed to produce an EPC is performed by an assessor who visits the property, examines key items such as loft insulation, domestic boiler, hot water tank, radiators, windows for double glazing, and so on. He or she then inputs the observations into a software programme which performs the calculation of energy efficiency. The programme gives a single number for the rating of energy efficiency and a recommended value of the potential for improvement. There are similar figures for environmental impact. A table of estimated energy bills per annum (and the potential for improvement) is also presented but without any reference to householder bills.
The exercise is entirely non-invasive, so assessors make assumptions on the insulation properties of various elements of the property based on age and construction type. The assessor has the ability to override these assumptions if visual or written evidence is provided to support the presence of insulation which may have been subsequently installed.