The ultimate guide to Energy Performance Certificates

Last updated: 29 January 2021

In this guide you’ll discover:

  • What is an EPC certificate?

  • What is an EPC rating?

  • What’s included in an EPC?

  • Who needs to get an EPC?

  • If I’m buying or renting a property, do I need to buy an EPC?

  • How much does an EPC cost?

  • How can I look up an EPC for a property?

What is an EPC certificate?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are a legal requirement, and reveal how energy-efficient your home is. EPCs also detail typical energy costs and provide recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency in your home as well as reduce consumption. These are accompanied by the estimated costs of implementing such changes along with the potential savings you can make.

What is an EPC rating? 

Part of your energy performance certificate will include an EPC rating grade between A and G. A is the best, indicating that your property is the most energy-efficient, while G is the worst. The more energy-efficient your property, the less you can expect to pay in monthly bills. To get a rating of A, you need to score 92+ on the EPC (out of 100), whereas to get a rating of G, your property will score just 1-20 points.

Landlords are legally required to meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), which are set at grade E or above. If their property has an EPC rating that is lower than E, they will be required to make improvements to their property to boost its energy efficiency – failure to do so will prohibit them from renting out the property or face significant penalties. 

What’s included in an EPC? 

It’s worth remembering that not all EPCs look the same, but typically, your EPC will break down over four pages:

Page numberContents
1 Details current and potential energy costs (after improvements) to give both you and prospective buyers more information about how much the property costs to run in terms of lighting, heating, and hot water. Other costs – such as running appliances – are not shown, so it doesn’t show the full picture. Also includes the actual EPC rating to provide a quick visual indicator of the property’s energy efficiency, plus a “top actions” summary of what to do to save money on energy.
2 Provides a detailed breakdown of your property’s energy performance, including descriptions and energy efficiency ratings. Examples include the walls, roof, and hot water system. Also listed here are existing low- or zero-carbon energy technology installations in the building. Lastly, the page details the heat demand of your property and shows you how to improve it with insulation.
3 Provides a list of recommendations on how to improve your home’s EPC rating. In order of importance, you will see the recommended measure, the cost, the typical yearly savings, the EPC rating after you make the improvement, and whether Green Deal financing is available to support. Also lists alternative measures that may also help to improve the energy efficiency of your property.
4 Lists basic information about the EPC, including the assessment date and the name of the assessor. It will also provide more information about the environmental impact of your property, showcasing your property’s carbon emissions and the impact that improvements could make on them.

Who needs to get an EPC? 

It’s a legal requirement for property sellers or landlords to get an EPC that they can show to tenants or potential buyers. For commercial property owners, you will need to get an EPC if you are selling or renting out your premises. You will also need one if changes have been made to the building (including the installation of solar panels or changes to the air, heating, or ventilation systems), or on the completion of any new-build property. 

Is anybody exempt from needing an EPC?

Yes, there are several exemptions. Most importantly, rented rooms in houses do not require EPCs. However, if you’re selling a self-contained flat within a larger house that has its own entrance and facilities, then an EPC certificate will be needed. In addition, most listed buildings are exempt from the requirement to provide an EPC – assuming they cannot be modified to be made more energy-efficient.

If I’m buying or renting a property, do I need to buy an EPC? 

If you’re looking to buy or rent, you should receive an EPC from the landlord or seller (it should be provided to you for free). This means that landlords or sellers need to get their EPC rating before they put their property on the market, not after the deal has been closed. 

Do I need to get an EPC in Scotland? 

If you sell a house in Scotland, you’ll need to get a Home Report. Home Reports include EPCs, as well as property questionnaires and house surveys. In total, the cost should be somewhere between £585 and £820, depending on the size of your property. It’s also important to note that in Scotland, homeowners are required to display their EPC somewhere within their home – one popular location is near the boiler.

Do EPCs need to be renewed?

EPCs are valid for 10 years, after which they need to be renewed. It’s very important that landlords and property owners renew EPCs when required, because not having an EPC is a finable offence to the tune of £200. 

How much does an EPC cost?

There isn’t a fixed EPC certificate cost, as it depends on a couple of different factors, including the type of property you live in, the number of bedrooms in your property, and the area in which you live. EPC certificates generally start at around £35, but if you live in a large house or an expensive area, the cost could be significantly more. 

How can I look up an EPC for a property? 

EPC ratings for all properties can be found online at the EPC Register – all you need is the postcode where the property is located. You can then select the property you’re looking for and see its most recent EPC certificate. This makes it easy to view the energy efficiency of your own property or the energy efficiency of a property that you’re considering moving into.

What is the EPC process like? 

If you need to get an EPC for your property, it will need to be conducted by an accredited energy assessor. Search the EPC Register to find accredited assessors in your local area. It’s also possible that your estate agent or letting agent will provide you with the services of an assessor. 

After you’ve found an assessor and scheduled an appointment, they will need access to every room in your property, including the loft. They will inspect heating systems and controls and take photographs and measurements. The amount of time required for the assessment varies from property to property, so ask the assessor how long they expect the assessment to take. Finally, the assessor will input the information and produce an EPC certificate for your property.

Read more:

Houses using the Renewable Heat Incentive

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Everything you need to know about the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme - what is RHI? And how do you apply?

Read More
People in garden under lights

How do energy-saving lightbulbs impact your energy bill and the environment?

We're always told to buy energy-saving lightbulbs, but what difference do they make to your overall energy bill, or to the environment?

Read More
Hand adjusting temperature on thermostat

100 energy-saving tips for your home

Can you have too many tips to help you save energy at home? We don't think so - here are no fewer than 100 energy-saving tips that everyone can use to keep their energy usage and bills as low as possible.

Read More


Written by

Published on Wed 23 Oct 2019 03.30 GMT