The purpose of an Energy Performance Certificate is to show property owners and tenants the potential energy consumption of a property and its impact on the environment, in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide produced. According to government estimates, homes consume more than a quarter of the UK’s energy. We can reduce this consumption in all sorts of ways: to prevent global warming, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and to reduce our personal energy costs.
The Energy Performance Certificate not only assesses energy consumption but also advises homeowners on simple measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, such as installing cavity wall insulation or improving loft insulation. The Energy Performance Certificate is strongly supported by environmental groups, but unfortunately, its reputation seems to be somewhat tarnished by its association with the much-criticized Home Information Pack (HIP), which must be accompanied by an Energy Performance Certificate.
In general, many people seem to agree that the Energy Performance Certificate is a good thing, as it can reduce environmental damage if the advice in it is followed.
So, who needs an EPC?
As of October 1, this year, all landlords are required to provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and all new tenancy agreements must include an EPC. All residential properties sold must have a HIP that includes an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and this must be no older than one year; all residential properties sold without a HIP (i.e. sold continuously before the HIP became mandatory) must still have an EPC. have an EPC.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is created by a specially trained and qualified home energy assessor (DEA) who evaluates the home, enters the data into standard government software, and creates the EPC and recommendations.
It is important for the client of the energy performance certificate (usually an estate agent, lawyer, or homeowner) to know who is conducting the assessment, as they will need to visit the property and check every room, including bedrooms, attics, etc. The DEA will also need to be able to provide a written report of the energy performance. Also note that the DEA is not a civil servant, for example, an environmental inspector.
How do I obtain an EPC?
For home sellers, such a survey may be provided as part of the sales package, and in some cases free of charge. However, real estate agents should be aware that this work is often subcontracted to so-called national HIP providers and the appraisal is done by a local DEA “panel”. In other words, the agents don’t know who they are sending into their clients’ homes. Most DEAs are good, honest citizens, but the potential problems with this approach are obvious.
Also, remember that nothing is free and the seller has to pay something. Even if the seller wants to change agents, they are not allowed to post the HIP or EPC until they pay, often at extortionate prices. This fee has to be paid upfront, but then the seller owns the survey and can use it at will. He can also shop around to get the best deal.
Homeowners will have the same dilemma if they hire a real estate agent to do the energy performance certificate for them or have the local DEA issue the energy performance certificate themselves.
Also, as of January 1, 2009, sellers will have to have the Energy Performance Certificate “in hand” before the sale can begin.
Andrew Fretwell is a qualified home energy assessor and, along with several other assessors in the South East, provides a reliable, prompt, and professional service.