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What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Those three letters mean a lot when it comes to the energy efficiency of your home. Here’s everything you need to know about EPCs and how to get one.

Words by: Ellie Isaac

Senior Editor

What is an EPC rating?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a rating of the energy efficiency of your home.

A is the best rating, giving your home top marks for energy efficiency.

G is the lowest rating, meaning your home’s far from energy efficient.

But it’s not just about the rating.

There’s tons of useful information in an EPC, like how much energy your home uses and what this is likely to cost you.

It’s even got recommendations on how to bring your rating up.

This includes ways you can cut your energy usage, the cost of home improvements and the amount of money you could end up saving.

How to improve your EPC rating

Is an EPC a legal requirement?

If you’re selling or renting your home, you must have a valid EPC.

It gives prospective buyers and tenants a clear understanding of how energy efficient your home is and how much they can expect to spend on energy bills.

You’ll need to have your valid EPC within seven days of putting the property on the market. 

Your estate agent or letting agent will tell you all about this and help you organise getting a certificate.

If you don’t have a valid EPC within this timeframe, you could get a hefty fine of up to £5,000.

If you’re not planning to sell or rent, there’s no requirement for an EPC - but it’s still useful to have.

It’ll show you exactly how your home’s doing in the energy efficiency stakes, which can help you decide on improvements and reduce your bills.

How to find your EPC rating

It’s easy to find out if you have a valid EPC and what your rating is. Just search for your address on the government’s EPC register:

Find your Energy Performance Certificate

You can download your certificate as a PDF and save it for free.

How to get a new EPC rating

If you don’t already have a valid EPC for your home - or you want a new one - you can get an energy assessor round to do an assessment.

All EPCs must be carried out by someone who’s accredited. You can find an assessor on the government's register:

Find an EPC assessor in England, Wales or Northern Ireland

Find an EPC assessor in Scotland

What does an EPC assessment involve?

The assessor will have a good look at the interior and exterior of your home.

They'll evaluate how much energy your home uses per square metre and how much carbon dioxide it produces.

They’ll take into account your home's:

  • Roof, walls and insulation

  • Dimensions and age

  • Windows

  • Heating system

  • Lighting 

  • Fireplaces 

  • Renewable energy solutions like solar panels, if you have them

They’ll then create your EPC, give your home a rating and provide you with a digital copy of your certificate.

How much does an EPC cost?

The cost of the assessment varies depending on the size of your home and the assessor you go with.

As a general rule, you can expect the cost of an EPC to start from around £60 and cost up to £120.

Like anything, it’s worth getting a few quotes from different assessors in your area to find the best price.

What's a good EPC rating?

The most common EPC rating in the UK is a D. So if your rating is C or above, that's pretty good.

New-build homes mainly have energy efficiency ratings of A or B, as they're built to the latest green specifications. Only 4% of older homes meet this level at the moment.

An EPC rating of E, F or G means your home is below the average level of energy efficiency in the UK.

While your EPC rating doesn't directly affect your home's value, it could impact the interest you get from buyers - especially if they're conscious of energy costs.

Track your home's value

Can you fail an EPC?

You cannot fail an EPC - there’s no pass or fail when it comes to EPC ratings.

But the lowest rating is G, which means your home’s at the lowest energy efficiency standard.

Your EPC will set out why you’ve been given this rating. It might mean that you’ve got poor insulation, an inefficient heating system or your home runs on an expensive and environmentally harmful fuel.

The good news is that your EPC will tell you exactly what you can do to fix this, as well as the cost of making the improvements.

When do you not need an EPC?

Some homes do not require an EPC, even if you’re selling or renting it.

If your home is listed, protected or in a conservation area, you may not need one. It’s because energy efficient improvements could alter the appearance of the property too much.

Get advice from your local authority’s conservation officer if your home falls into one of these categories.

You'll also not need an EPC for:

  • Holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy

  • Residential buildings that will be used for less than 4 months a year

  • Buildings that are due to be demolished

How long does an EPC last?

An EPC is valid for 10 years - even if the property has new owners or tenants.

It can be worth getting an updated EPC before the 10 years is up - particularly if you’ve made any improvements to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

It means you’ll have a better idea of the running costs and condition of your home, and you’ll be better prepared to sell or rent it in the future.

What are the EPC rules in rental homes?

If you’re renting out your home, it must have a valid EPC rating of E or above.

The current penalty is £5,000 if you don’t have a valid EPC of this level.

But new rules are coming in as part of the government’s plan to make homes more energy efficient and reduce the emissions of the UK’s housing stock.

From 2025, any new tenancies will need an EPC rating of C or above and the penalty will rise to £30,000.

And by 2028, all rental homes will need an EPC rating of C or above.

If you’re a tenant, you should receive a copy of your home’s EPC when you move in from your letting agent or landlord.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.