What are Energy Performance Certificates

What is an EPC and what does it mean

The EPC looks broadly similar to the energy labels now provided with vehicles and many appliances. Its purpose is to indicate how energy efficient a building is. The certificate will provide an energy rating of the building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is the least efficient. The better the rating, the more energy-efficient the building is, and the lower the fuel bills are likely to be. The energy performance of the building is shown as a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) based index.

Each energy rating is based on the characteristics of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting). Hence this type of rating is known as an asset rating. The asset ratings will reflect considerations including the age and condition of the building. It is accompanied by a recommendation report, which provides recommendations on using the building more effectively, cost effective improvements to the building and other more expensive improvements which could enhance the building’s energy performance.

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What is the difference between Level 3 & 4 Buildings

A Commercial Level 3 building has:

  • Heating no greater than 100kw
  • Air Conditioning no greater than 12kw
  • No air handling unit

 A Commercial Level 4 Building has:

  • Heating greater than 100kw
  • Air Conditioning greater than 12kw
  • An air handling unit.
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Why energy performance certificates are required

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is intended to inform potential buyers or tenants about the energy performance of a building, so they can consider energy efficiency as part of their investment or business decision to buy or occupy that building.

An EPC will provide an energy rating for a building which is based on the performance potential of the building itself (the fabric) and its services (such as heating, ventilation and lighting). The energy rating given on the certificate reflects the intrinsic energy performance standard of the building relative to a benchmark which can then be used to make comparisons with comparable properties. It is accompanied by a recommendation report, which provides recommendations on how the energy performance of the building could be enhanced, together with an indication of the payback period.

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What happens if I do not have an Energy Performance Certificate

The penalty for failing to make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant when selling or letting non-dwellings is fixed, in most cases, at 12.5% of the ratable value of the building, subject to a minimum penalty of £500 and a maximum of £5,000.

There is a default penalty of £750 where the formula cannot be applied. A formula is used as the costs of producing an EPC for non dwellings are expected to vary according to the size, complexity and use of the building. The EPC will still be required.

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Buildings requiring an energy performance certificate

An EPC is only required for a building when constructed, sold or let.

For the purposes of the regulations, a building is defined as:
a roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately.

For a building to fall within the requirement for an EPC it must:

  • have a roof and walls; and
  • us energy to condition the indoor climate. This is the case where the building has any of the following fixed services: heating, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning. Although the provision of hot water is a fixed building service, it does not “condition the indoor environment” and would not therefore be a trigger for an EPC. The same argument applies to electric lighting. Where a building is expected to have heating, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning installed, it will require an EPC based on the assumed fit out.
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Situations where an EPC is not required

EPCs are not required on construction, sale or rent for:

  • places of worship
  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use less than two years (see glossary of terms)
  • stand alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m2 that are not dwellings
  • industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand (see glossary of terms for a detailed description).
    EPCs are not required on sale or rent for buildings due to be demolished. The seller or landlord should be able to demonstrate that:
  • the building is to be sold or let with vacant possession; and
  • the building is suitable for demolition and the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment; and
  • they believe, on reasonable grounds, that a prospective buyer or tenant intends to demolish the building (eg on evidence of an application for planning permission).
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What an EPC for a non-dwelling contains

In addition to the asset ratings, EPCs must convey several other key pieces of information:

Reference information
This includes the unique certificate reference number (as stored in the central register) the date of issue of the certificate and when it is valid until.

Energy assessor details
This includes the assessor’s name, accreditation number, company name (or trading name if self employed) and accreditation scheme.

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Information on how to complain or how to confirm that the certificate is genuine

The certificate will provide information on how to register a complaint about an unsatisfactory EPC and how to check the certificate is authentic.

The certificate is accompanied by a report which includes cost-effective recommendations to improve the energy ratings. For each improvement indicative paybacks are listed.

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