Every home that goes on the market for sale or rent in England needs an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Every new-build property also needs an EPC.

This is a form that details the building's energy efficiency and highlights where a householder can make cost-effective energy savings.

Want to know more? Let's dive into the Energy Performance Certificate.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

If you have recently bought a washing machine or tumble drier, you'll have noticed the multi-coloured sticker on the appliance that rates its energy performance.

An Energy Performance Certificate does the same job for property, both domestic and commercial. The system was first introduced in England and Wales in 2007.

An EPC tells you how energy efficient the building is via a rating system that goes from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient).

The EPC will also predict the energy-efficiency rating that's possible if recommended improvements are carried out.

The certificate highlights cost-effective ways to cut a property's carbon emissions, reduce energy use and get a higher rating.

For example, the assessor may suggest increasing hot water insulation; adding internal or external wall insulation; or using low-wattage light bulbs.

Who provides an EPC?

An independent Domestic Energy Assessor visits each property to carry out the survey for an EPC.

Assessors are qualified in domestic energy assessment and must be members of approved accreditation schemes to ensure the certificate is valid.

The certificates themselves are regulated by a 2012 law, the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulation.

Each survey takes between 45 minutes and an hour. The assessor will need to access all areas of a property to produce the most thorough report.

How much does an EPC cost?

Energy Performance Certificates do not come with a fixed cost. Larger properties are likely to take longer to inspect, while flats can be tricky because of access issues.

Expect to pay anything from £49 to £100 plus VAT.

Your estate agent may encourage you to order an EPC through them. However, that can be often be a more expensive choice.

Shop around yourself for the best deal, liaising directly with a professional, accredited energy assessment company. You can find local companies on the official EPC site.

How long does an EPC last?

Each EPC is valid for 10 years from the date of issue.

How do I know if the property I'm in has an EPC?

All valid and up-to-date Energy Performance Certificates are listed on the Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register.

Is an EPC essential if I'm moving?

Yes. The law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland demands that all properties have a valid EPC. If you try to sell or rent without one, you could be fined.

Check the EPC register to ensure your EPC is up to date before you put your home up for sale.

If your EPC is out of date, commission a new report promptly so any prospective buyers can inspect the up-to-date EPC.

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