Energy Performance Certificates for buildings

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How do EPCs work?

First step to improve energy efficiency of buildings

By October 2008 Energy Performance Certificates will be required for all commercial buildings when they are built, rented or sold. They are a simple and realistic first step to improving energy efficiency in buildings across England and Wales and making the whole country more sustainable.

The Certificate

An EPC will allow owners, occupiers and buyers to make informed choices about improving their buildings’ energy efficiency by providing the following:

  • information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of their building
  • a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building on a scale of A to G, where A is the best

    The ratings are standard so the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of a similar type. EPCs align with recognisable and established grading systems now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

  • A recommendation report providing information about ways to improve the energy efficiency of the building The certificate also shows the rating that could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.

    Realistically, many buildings in England and Wales, especially older stock, will score lower ratings. This is why it is important for owners and occupiers of buildings to act on their EPC recommendations to help to cut energy consumption, save money on bills and safeguard the environment.

EPCs have been developed and implemented in conjunction with property industry experts and stakeholders.

Getting your building assessed

EPCs are produced by accredited energy assessors. They may be employed by a company (such as an estate agent or energy company) or be independent traders.

  • The Energy Assessor visits a building to conduct an energy assessment. During the assessment they collect information on the building, which includes details of its dimensions, construction and heating, lighting and insulation
  • The information is fed into the government-approved software programme (using standard energy ratings)
  • The programme produces the EPC and recommendation report

EPCs are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared to another.

It is the responsibility of the person building, selling or letting a building to have a valid EPC to show to prospective buyers and tenants. The actual certificate must be given to the eventual buyer or tenant.

Although there is no requirement to get an EPC for buildings that are just being occupied normally other than when they are being sold or let, all owners and occupiers are welcome to obtain an EPC if they wish. This will enable everyone to gauge the energy efficiency of their building, rate their building against others and learn about potential cost savings.

Acting on the recommendations

The recommendations include a list of cost-effective improvements which will improve the energy efficiency of a building. For each improvement, it shows the approximate cost, typical cost savings per year and the estimated performance rating after improvement.

Note: â??cost effective’ is classed as measures that have a payback time of seven years or less.

The certificate also lists â??further measures’ â?? these will have a longer payback time, such as a new air conditioning or heating system or micro-generation.

Whilst there is no obligation to act on the recommendations, everyone can play a role in cutting carbon emissions and making the UK more sustainable. In addition, acting on the recommendations is likely to:

  • improve the energy efficiency of the building
  • reduce fuel bills
  • make the property more attractive to potential buyers or tenants in the future.

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