The certificate contains the following property details:
- property address
- property type (for example detached house)
- date of inspection
- certificate date and serial number
- total floor area.
The total floor area is the area contained within the external walls of the property. The figure includes internal walls, stairwells and the like, but excludes garages, porches, areas less than 1.5 m high, balconies and any similar area that is not an internal part of the dwelling.
The A to G scale
Energy performance certificates present the energy efficiency of dwellings on a scale of A to G. The most efficient homes – which should have the lowest fuel bills – are in band A. The certificate uses the same scale to define the impact a home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The average property in the UK is in band D or E.
Domestic RHI yardstick
The EPC will become more significant from April 2014 when Domestic Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) become available. The amount of the deemed expected annual heat use for a domestic property can be obtained from the EPC and this will determine the amount of Domestic RHI which is payable on installing renewable heat options like ground source heat pumps and solar thermal collectors.
The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save money. The accuracy of the recommendations will depend on the inspection standards applied by the inspector, which may be variable. Inspectors, who may be Home Inspectors (HIs) or Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs), are audited by their accreditation bodies in order to maintain standards. The recommendations appear general in tone, but are in fact bespoke to the property in question. The logic by which the RDSAP program makes its recommendations was developed as part of a project to create the RDSAP methodology, which took place during the early years of the 21st century. The EU directive requires the EPC recommendations to be cost effective in improving the energy efficiency of the home, but in addition to presenting the most cost effective options, more expensive options which are less cost effective are also presented. To distinguish them from the more cost effective measures, these are shown in a section described as ‘further measures’. Because the EPC is designed to be produced at change of occupancy, it must be relevant to any occupier and it therefore must make no allowance for the particular preferences of the current occupier.
Properties exempt from the Housing Act 2004 are:
- Non-residential, such as offices, shops, warehouses.
- Mixed use, a dwelling house which part of a business (farm, shop, petrol station)
- Unsafe properties, a property that poses a serious health and safety risk to occupants or visitors
- Properties to be demolished, properties that are due to be demolished where the marketing of the property, all the relevant documents and planning permission exists.
- Listed buildings (Recast of EPC requirements from 9 January 2013)*
- Stand alone buildings of less than 50m2 (Recast of EPC requirements from 9 January 2013)
- Buildings of religion or worship (Recast of EPC requirements from 9 January 2013)
- Residential buildings with use of less than 4 months per year (Recast of EPC requirements from 9 January 2013)
The possible exemption of listed buildings has always been a contentious issue. As a devolved issue, no exemption of listed buildings exists under the Scottish Regulations. In England & Wales, listed buildings are only exempt “…in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.”The only way to determine whether an EPC will have recommendations that would unacceptably alter the appearance or character of the listed dwelling is lodge an EPC and find out.
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