Housing Minister Yvette Cooper launches compulsory energy rating for homes to help cut carbon emissions.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has launched the new Energy Performance Certificate which will become an essential part of the Home Information Packs to be introduced next year.

Cooper said: "Given the growing challenge from climate change and rising energy costs, I think people should be entitled to this kind of information about the home they buy. By providing people with sound advice on how to improve energy efficiency this will help sellers and buyers who want to do their bit to cut carbon emissions as well as cutting their fuel bills too."

According to the new law, energy ratings similar to consumer-friendly fridge ratings will have to be produced for every home bought and sold in England and Wales from next June. The certificates will give home buyers and sellers A to G ratings for their home's energy efficiency and carbon emissions. They will tell them current average costs for heating, hot water and lighting in their home as well as how to cut costs with energy efficiency measures.

The reports, prepared by qualified home inspectors, will advise consumers on which energy measures, ranging from thicker loft insulation right through to solar panels, could cut carbon emissions from their home and improve their energy rating.

Paul King, UK campaigns director of the WWF, said: "Our homes account for 27% of the UK's CO2 emissions contributing to global climate change. This represents a very positive step forward. It means that for the first time people will be given the kind of user-friendly information they need to reduce both the environmental impact of their homes and their energy bills."

The energy ratings will be included in Home Condition Reports which will set out important independent information on the condition of the property as part of the Home Information Pack.