Energy Performance Certificates or EPCs are a compulsory requirement for all homes on the property market, this includes rental properties and, by law, a landlord is required to provide his tenants with an EPC when they move into the property in question.
As of the 6th of April 2012, new legislation requires property owners to have an EPC in place within 7 days of marketing their property.
An Energy Performance Certificate gives detailed information on how a home can be made more energy efficient and the steps occupiers can take to help reduce wasted energy and carbon dioxide emissions.
Energy Assessment Survey
The first step in producing an Energy Performance Certificate for a property is to perform an Energy Assessment Survey of that property. The assessment will be undertaken by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor who will need to carry out both internal and external inspections of the property.
The Energy Assessment Survey will include the following details:
• The construction of the roof and walls
• The presence of any cavity wall insulation
• The presence of any renewable energy devices such as wind turbines or solar panels
• The presence of double glazing and when the double glazing was installed
• The presence and amount of both open and closed fireplaces
• The make of boiler, the fuel it uses and the boiler’s flue type
• The heating system and thermostat type
• The number of inhabited rooms which are heated
• The thickness of the jacket around the hot water cylinder
• The presence and amount of low-energy usage light bulbs
• The presence of roof insulation and the thickness of the roof
• Measurements of any extensions or conservatories
• Measurements of both the external and internal areas of the property
• Sketches of the layout of the property
• The year in which the property was built
Once the Domestic Energy Assessor has all the information required he can begin to prepare the property’s EPC.
What an Energy Performance Certificate Contains
Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Energy Usage
• An EPC shows the current energy efficiency of a property and the possible energy efficiency achievable when the occupier makes certain energy efficiency improvements to the home.
• The energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of a property are measured using an A to G grading system where G is the least efficient rating and A is the most efficient rating.
• Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to climate change and we are responsible for 40% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions.
• Carbon dioxide is known as a Greenhouse Gas and Greenhouse Gases have an incredibly detrimental effect on the planet, causing sea levels and temperature levels to rise resulting in extreme weather occurrences.
• These occurrences of extreme weather are becoming more and more frequent and, frighteningly, more severe. With the combined efforts of individuals to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions it is hope that the impact on the environment can be significantly reduced.
The EPC’s Recommendation Report
Also within an EPC is a Recommendation Report which provides the occupier with plenty of advice on how to run a more energy efficient home and how to cut down on their carbon dioxide emissions.
By following the advice within the EPC an individual can not only reduce emissions and energy wastage but also make considerable savings on energy bills.
The Recommendation Report includes:
1. Suggestions for improvements to reduce energy and emissions
2. The potential savings an individual could make if the suggested improvements are undertaken
3. The change in the energy usage and emissions of the property after the suggested improvements have taken place
Improvements and Changes to Reduce Energy Usage and Emissions
There are numerous ways for a homeowner or tenant to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions and energy usage and below are some of the improvements which may well be suggested in the property’s
Energy Performance Certificate:
• Installing cavity wall insulation
• Draft proofing windows and doors
• Installing loft insulation
• Insulating pipes and tanks
• Installing a condensing boiler
• Reducing water usage
• Consider energy efficient glazing
• Consider a renewable energy technology such as a wood fuelled heater, solar panels or wind turbines
• Installing low-energy usage light bulbs
One incredibly simple way to both reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save 10% on heating bills is to turn down the thermostat by just 1%.
There’s no law that states the property owner or tenant has to carry out the suggested improvements but considering that the changes make such environmental and financial sense it would be foolish to not at least attempt to follow some of the easier suggestions.
Energy Performance Certificates – Rule Changes In 2012
The Energy Performance Certificates (“EPCs”) rules are set to change. New regulations will come into force on 6 April 2012.
The onus remain with the ‘relevant person’, the seller or landlord, to commission an EPC before marketing their property, but this duty will now be extended to the sale and rent of residential and non-residential buildings.
From April 2012 the 28 day period is reduced to seven days. If after seven days the EPC has not been secured the relevant person will have a further 21 days in which to secure it, after this a penalty charge may be imposed.
Delays in producing EPCs i.e., those commissioned and produced just before completion of a transaction will no longer be allowed.
Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) will have new powers enabling them to force all those involved including agents, sellers and landlords to produce copies of EPCs for inspection and to produce evidence showing that an EPC has been commissioned where they are marketing a property.
From 6 April 2012 EPCs will need to be given with the particulars of commercial and residential properties for sale or rent.
From 6 April 2012 an air-conditioning inspection report (if applicable) must be lodged on the central government EPC register.
Gas Safety Certificates
As well as an Energy Performance Certificate a landlord is also required, by law, to have a Gas Safety Certificate when gas appliances are present in the property. A Gas Safety Certificate is awarded after a registered gas engineer has carried out a successful Gas Safety Check on the property.
The landlord is required to certify the safety of the gas appliances within his property to eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide related deaths.
Studies show that around 30 people in the UK alone die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning and it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that his tenants don’t meet with the same fate.
The Gas Safety Inspection should be carried out annually and will require the engineer to cover the following points:
• To test the appliance/appliances for gas tightness
• To compare the gas rate and burner pressure of the appliance against the manufacturer’s information plate
• To test both the working and standing pressure of the appliance/appliances
• To carry out a flue flow test to ensure all combustible materials are removed
• To carry out tests to ensure all flame failure devices are operating satisfactorily
• To check the stability and effectiveness of the appliance’s brackets if required
• To check there is adequate necessary ventilation
• To record any obvious signs of unsafe usage
• To carry out a complete tightness test on the full system
If an appliance fails the inspection, the gas supply to the appliance will be cut off and the appliance will either need to be repaired by a registered engineer or completely replaced.
If the appliance/appliances pass the inspection the landlord will be given two copies of the Gas Safety Certificate, one for his own records and one for the tenants.