We often get asked what an EPC actually involves so we thought we’d write a (relatively) brief guide.
EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate. The Department for Communities and Local Government suggest that buildings and the way in which we use them account for 40% of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. The EPC was introduced in the UK to meet the standards set out in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). An EPC is required when a building is built, sold or rented out. It provides a rating indicating the energy efficiency of the building based upon the fabric, heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and hot water.
There are some exceptions when an EPC is not required, such as standalone buildings under 50m2, places of worship, buildings due to be demolished and Listed buildings. Most buildings do require an EPC however, so it’s always best to check with an Accredited Energy Assessor if in doubt.
If you need an EPC for a Feed-In Tariff application for your solar photovoltaic (solar PV) installation, then the Ofgem guidelines can differ to the EPBD Regulations. Again, check with an Energy Assessor for guidance.
The EPC provides an Asset Rating for the building on a scale of A to G. A is the best rating and G is the worst. There is also an A+ rating for those buildings that generate more energy than they consume, within the parameters of the EPC assessment.
Two benchmarks are displayed on the EPC and these indicate the rating of an equivalent newly constructed building and that of a typical building. The typical building shows how a building constructed around 25 years ago would perform.
In order to carry out an EPC, the Energy Assessor visits the property to measure the building, record the activities that the rooms are used for and to collect data on the building services including heating and cooling plant, ventilation, hot water provision and lighting. Photographs are also taken to provide evidence of the site visit.
The site data is then entered in to the calculation software. At Up Energy, we use advanced 3D modeling software that allows us to visualise the building we are assessing. This provides more accurate results and allows for much easier error checking, compared to the basic, free software.
The software runs the calculations and the EPC rating is produced. On the certificate, there is also some summary information including building size, main heating fuel and building CO2 emission rate. Accompanying the EPC is the Recommendations Report. This details some standard and Assessor generated recommendations for reducing energy consumption. They are split into sections depending upon the payback period and their potential carbon impact is displayed.
An EPC is usually required when a building is being constructed, sold or let. If it is being produced for a new building, it will be provided to Building Control along with the SBEM calculations and included within the Building O&M manual. For those buildings being sold or let, the EPC should be available for potential purchasers / lessees as soon as marketing commences. It is common practice for a solicitor to request a copy at the transaction stage. If the EPC is needed as part of a Feed-In Tariff application, then it must be completed when the application is submitted, so that the electricity provider can verify its existence and download a copy from the EPC register. Up Energy will provide more information regarding EPCs for solar PV installations in the near future.