A run through of key information around the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates this year, from definitions to timings, type of buildings and the process


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 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. EPC 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. An EPC may be valid for up to 10 years.

What buildings require EPC and When?

The original phasing of the measures for England and Wales is provided in the table below:

*The Government has extended the deadline to 1 October for any building which is on the market before April and remains on the market afterwards. If it is sold or rented out in the meantime, an EPC must be commissioned and then handed over as soon as reasonably practicable. This is intended to make it easier for owners and landlords of large buildings to comply with the legislation. Similar provisions will apply for the introduction of EPCs on buildings over 2500m2 in July, expiring also on 1 October 2008. In Scotland, EPC will come into force on 4th January 2009 for commercial buildings sold or rented.

Who should get an EPC?

When a building is being constructed or modified, it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the construction to give an EPC and recommendations report to the owner of the building. As soon as a building is in the process of being offered for sale, it is the responsibility of the seller to make available an EPC to prospective buyers. As soon as a building is in the process of being offered to let, it is the responsibility of the prospective landlord to make available an EPC to prospective tenants.

How to get an EPC? Energy Assessment Process

Step 1: understand the portfolio and budget the cost

Property owners or landlords should be aware which of their properties will be subject to the new legislation, depending on the size and use of the property. They should start to prepare for paperwork and gather data such as building size, usable floor area, an up-to-date Operation & Maintenance manual for the building and its asset register.

The cost of getting an EPC varies depending on drawings and information given (currently from £1500 to more than £10,000). Managers should budget for the short term costs of compliance in return for the potential improvements to their assets as a result of the energy grade. By complying with the legislation and following the recommendations supplied with the EPC on how to improve energy efficiency, managers can reduce the energy bills and cut its carbon emissions, thereby making the property more attractive to potential buyers or tenants in the future.

Step 2: choose the assessor and obtain the EPC

The people who conduct energy assessments and produce EPCs must be accredited energy assessors who are members of an accreditation scheme. Once an energy assessor has been commissioned to produce an EPC, there are three main steps to performing the assessment, which are:

1. Gathering the relevant information about the building

2. Analysing the information and identifying different zones of the building

3. Entering the information into an approved software programme. The appropriate methods for commercial buildings are SBEM – Simplified Building Energy Model or DSM – Dynamic Simulation.

During the assessment the energy assessor will collect information about the building. This will include plans, dimensions of the building, its uses, the number of floors, amount and type of glazing (i.e. single or double glazing), heating systems and fuel used. This information will be fed into an approved software program using a government-approved energy assessment method. The software produces the certificate and the recommendation report for the building. The energy assessor will then record the certificate onto the national register via his or her accreditation body and provide the seller or prospective landlord with a copy. The EPC is now ready to be given to new building owners or made available to prospective buyers or tenants.