What is a Domestic EPC and How to Prepare for One?
Domestic EPCs are usually required by law when buying or renting a property. They help inform homeowners, landlords and prospective tenants about the building’s energy performance, as well as how it could be improved. If you’re planning on getting a domestic EPC, our guide provides a detailed explanation of what a domestic EPC is, what an EPC check involves and how to prepare for one.
If you’re looking for an EPC for a commercial space, then check out our complete guide to a commercial EPC instead.
What is a domestic EPC?
A domestic EPC is a certificate that showcases a property’s energy efficiency. It differs from commercial EPCs, as it’s used to measure the energy performance of residential properties, i.e. homes, as opposed to offices, retail and other commercial spaces. It uses the same grading scale of A-G, where A is a highly efficient property and G is the least efficient. However, the way a domestic EPC is carried out is slightly different to a commercial EPC, and so it’s important to know what is in an EPC check and how to prepare for one.
Alongside the rating, the EPC also offers tailored recommendations on how to enhance the property’s energy efficiency, from insulation improvements to heating system upgrades. Primarily used during the sale or rent of a property, it ensures transparency in energy consumption, aiding in making informed decisions. The assessment for the certificate is conducted by an accredited energy assessor, ensuring standardised and reliable evaluations.
How is a domestic EPC calculated?
EPCs are calculated using by qualified, registered energy assessors using national standards. Various elements are evaluated, including the property’s overall dimensions, which influence its heat retention capabilities. The construction type and age provide insights into the inherent energy efficiencies or potential shortcomings. Heating systems, such as boilers and radiators, play a pivotal role, as do the insulation methods utilised in walls, lofts, and floors. Window types, especially the glazing aspect, weigh in on insulation and heat conservation. Other considerations include lighting and any renewable energy installations.
What is the minimum EPC for a house?
In the UK, landlords have been under regulatory obligations regarding the energy efficiency of their rental properties. As of April 2020, private sector landlords must ensure that their properties have an EPC rating of at least an ‘E’ before granting a new tenancy or renewing an existing one. This means that homes rated ‘F’ or ‘G’ are considered not energy efficient enough to be rented out unless they qualify for an exemption.
However, in 2023 new laws for landlords meant that by 2025, the minimum EPC rating must be a ‘C’. Therefore, landlords will not legally be able to rent a property that falls below an EPC rating of C from 2025. This regulation aims to improve the energy efficiency of rented homes, reducing carbon emissions and potentially lowering energy bills for tenants. It’s essential for landlords to be aware of this threshold and for prospective tenants to verify a property’s rating to ensure it meets the minimum requirement.
How to prepare for a domestic EPC
There are various ways to prepare for your domestic EPC. First of all, make sure the energy assessor can access particular areas of the property.
Areas that need to be accessible during a domestic EPC
- The rear of the property: An examination of the rear of the building is crucial to assess its overall energy efficiency and identify any potential areas for improvement.
- The boiler/boiler room: Access to the boiler or boiler room is essential for evaluating the heating system’s efficiency and its impact on the building’s energy performance.
- The loft: Inspection of the loft area allows us to assess its insulation and consider its influence on the property’s overall energy efficiency.
- The hot water cylinder (or equivalent): Evaluating the hot water cylinder or its equivalent is important in understanding the energy consumption related to the hot water supply.
- The majority of the rooms: Access to most rooms within the property is necessary to assess their lighting, heating, insulation, and overall energy usage.
- The gas and electricity meters: Access to the gas and electricity meters helps in recording accurate energy consumption data for the EPC assessment.
- External areas: If you have wall insulation, especially if it’s external, ensure the assessor can view a part of it, even if it means temporarily removing a small section.
Other preparations for a domestic EPC
In addition to making the above areas easy-to-reach and accessible, the following preparations are advised to ensure the inspection goes smoothly and leads to an accurate EPC.
- FENSA certificate for windows: If your windows were fitted within the last 15 years by a registered fitter, please have the FENSA certificate available on the day of the inspection. This will aid in assessing the windows’ energy efficiency.
- Visible low-energy light bulbs: If you use low-energy light bulbs, but they are currently concealed under coverings, we kindly request that you consider removing some of the coverings temporarily. This will enable our assessor to take photographs and consider these energy-efficient lighting features in the EPC assessment.
- Documentation for property extensions and loft conversions: If the property has been extended or the loft converted, please try to establish the date of the works and obtain the Building Control Completion Statement, especially for loft conversions. Providing this information is essential, as it impacts the application of insulation levels in accordance with the building regulations prevailing at the time of construction.
- Records of insulation during refurbishment: If the property has been insulated during a refurbishment, please try to reveal some of the insulation or provide the assessor with official documentation relating to the works during the assessment. Please note that an intention to carry out works, such as a quote, will not be acceptable and could lead to an invalid EPC.
- Documentation for insulated external walls: If the cavity of the external walls has been insulated and subsequently rendered over or re-pointed, kindly try to find the certificate or warranty relating to the insulation and present it to our assessor during the assessment.
- Heating: If your property has thermostatic controls, timers, or a programmable heating system, ensure they are functional and visible. Likewise, make sure your boiler is in good working order.
- Renewable Energy: If you’ve invested in renewable energy solutions, such as solar panels or a wind turbine, ensure they’re in working condition and any relevant documentation is to hand.
- General Maintenance: Small fixes can make a difference. Seal any obvious draughts around doors and windows, and if you’ve been thinking about insulating your hot water tank, now might be the time.
The goal of a good energy assessor is to provide you with a thorough and accurate EPC report that reflects the true energy efficiency of your building. Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.