What is EPC rating and how to improve it

Find out all about Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and how you can improve your home's energy efficiency

What is an Energy Performance Certificate or EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is valid for 10 years and shows you how energy efficient a home is. It's key to buying, selling or renting a property as it gives you an idea of:

  • Energy bills
  • Carbon emissions
  • What you can do to improve its energy efficiency

Even if you're not moving, it's worth having a look at your home's EPC to find out what you can do to reduce your energy bills and carbon emissions. Once you've made improvements to your home, make sure to have a new EPC issued. You can access any home's EPC through the government's website. 

What is EPC rating?

Your EPC will have two main charts with the rating bands. The bands go from A to G, with A being the best rating your home can have, and G being the worst. In the chart, you can see the current rating and potential rating, if you were to carry out the recommended home improvements. 

The numbers in each rating reflect the government's Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) and go from 1 to 100 SAP points. These scores are divided into bands as follows:

EPC rating A = 92-100 SAP points (most efficient)

EPC rating B = 81-91 SAP points

EPC rating C = 69-80 SAP points

EPC rating D = 55-68 SAP points

EPC rating E = 39-54 SAP points

EPC rating F = 21-38 SAP points

EPC rating G = 1-20 SAP points (least efficient)

How to improve your EPC rating

Improving your EPC means improving your home's energy efficiency. It also means you could reduce your energy bills, make your home warmer and more comfortable and increase its value and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some of the ways to improve your EPC:

  • Double glazing. Upgrading your windows and doors won't just improve your home's energy performance, it can reduce noise too
  • Loft insulation. It's easy to install, inexpensive and can make a huge difference to your bills. Install loft insulation that's at least 270mm thick
  • Wall insulation. Whether your home has cavity or solid walls, insulating them can improve your EPC rating and you might qualify for help with the costs
  • Replace your boiler. You can cut your energy bills with a new, energy-efficient boiler. 
  • An efficient secondary heating source. Installing a wood-burning stove instead of an open fireplace can give you greater fuel efficiency and reduced costs in the long run.
  • Solar panels. these produce cheaper, greener energy. See our advice on solar panels for more information.

 

More information about EPCs

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about energy performance certificates (EPCs). 

How to get new EPC rating?

If you're looking to get a new EPC, it's best to find an accredited energy assessor through the government's EPC register. If you're selling your home, your estate agent may offer to arrange it for you but that's usually more expensive. 

How can I get copy of my EPC?

You can find your or any other property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on the EPC register. This applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you're interested in buying or selling in Scotland, the properties there have to have a Home Report, which also includes the EPC. You can just look up an EPC for a Scottish property on the Scottish EPC Register

How much does it cost to get new EPC?

EPCs can cost from £35 to £120. How much you pay depends on the type of your home, how many bedrooms it has and the area it's in. It's also worth shopping around for an assessor as their fees may vary too. 

How long does it take to get an EPC?

The actual assessment takes about 45 minutes to an hour but it could vary depending on the size of your home. You get your certificate pretty quickly, usually a couple of days but you can check with the assessor when booking them, how long it takes them to put the report together. Your EPC is then valid for 10 years. 

Who needs an EPC?

If you’re buying or renting, it’s a legal requirement for the seller or landlord to arrange for an EPC. Do make sure that you - as the buyer or tenant - see and understand the certificate. The rating can impact how much your new home will cost. And if you're renting you know what to expect from energy bills plus the EPC must not be below E. 

If you're buying a new built, the developer is responsible for getting the EPC. 

Do listed building need an EPC?

Since 2013, listed buildings have been exempt from EPCs, provided they reach certain minimum standards for energy performance. Ironically, the best way to check whether your property meets these standards is to get an EPC. If your listed building already had an EPC before 2013, you will have to make sure it has an E rating before you can rent it out. This may require some changes.

Many common EPC-recommended measures, such as installing insulation or double glazing, can harm the authenticity of a listed building, so it's understandable if you want to try and avoid these. You could opt for other improvements that have minimal effect to the aesthetics or structural integrity of a listed building. These include switching to a low carbon energy source, installing a more efficient boiler and draught-proofing.

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