Energy Performance Certificates will be required for all buldings constructed, sold or let from October 2008

Plans for the long-awaited Energy Performance Certificates, which many predict will transform both the domestic and commercial markets, have been unveiled by the government.

By October 2008, all buildings constructed, sold or rented out will be required to have an Energy Performance Certificate.

Energy certificates

The certificate will include an energy rating, as well as advice from the Energy Savings Trust on how to make improvements to the building to make it more energy efficient.

The ratings will be similar to those currently used for white goods, ranging from A to G, with A the best and G the worst. Buildings will be judged on predicated energy use, calculated using the SBEM software, which is also used for Part L of the Building Regulations.

Landlords will be responsible for the production of EPCs, valid for ten years.

The government also said it is working to link EPCs with developing green mortgages and grants from utilities companies to help owners who want to improve properties with a low EPC rating.

Occupiers of public buildings including museums, galleries and swimming pools, but not places of worship, will also be obliged to publicly display a certificate stating how well their building is currently functioning.

This will take the form of a Display Energy Certificate and will be based on energy data from how the building is actually running. This will be the tenants’ responsibility and will last for 12 months.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper admitted that the public sector had to improve the energy efficiency of its stock. She said: “From the local library to the House of Commons, the public sector must do its bit to cut carbon emissions.

“Often both those who use and those who operate public buildings have little idea how energy efficient they actually are, nor what could be done to improve them.”

The government will roll EPCs out over a period of 18 months, starting in June, when they will be included in the new Home Information Packs.

Many have criticised HIPS for being an added expense to the already costly home buying experience. The current market price for EPCs is £100.

The timetable for introducing EPCs is:

  • 1 June 2007: EPCs required for marketed sales of existing homes
  • 1 October 2007: EPCs required on construction of all new homes
  • 1 January 2008: Air conditioning inspections introduced
  • 6 April 2008: EPCs required for the sale or rent of non-dwellings of over 500 sq m; EPCs required for the construction of all non-dwellings; Display EPCs required for public buildings of over 1000 sq m
  • 1 October 2008: EPCs required for domestic rental properties and other non-marketed residential sales; EPCs required for the construction, rental or sale of all other non-dwellings.