Energy Performance Certificates Get a Facelift – 27 March 2012

New improved and redesigned Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for domestic buildings will be introduced from 1 April 2012. An EPC is required by law whenever a home is sold or rented out. The content and format of EPCs will change significantly for the first time since they were introduced nearly 5 years ago.

"We found that Lincolnshire landlords and homeowners did not always readily understand the old EPC," said Grimsby Energy Performance Certificate provider Colin Childs from "The lack of clarity made it less likely that landlords and homeowners would decide to implement some or all of the energy efficiency recommendations. The results of some consumer research have prompted the government to improve and completely redesign the EPC."

The changes that have been made include:

• More graphics and white space

• A single energy efficiency graph on the front page

• Significantly reduced text

• Greater focus on potential financial savings

• Recommended improvements nearer the front of the document

"The changes are not just cosmetic," said Mr Childs. "More detailed information will be collected during the property assessment, which takes about one hour for a typical home. This will result in more accurate EPCs based upon fewer assumptions. Homeowners and landlords with an existing EPC need not worry because the old style EPC will remain valid for the duration of its 10 year life. Nevertheless, the new EPC is so different that Domestic Energy Assessors have to undertake further training and pass an examination for a new qualification before they can be accredited to continue producing EPCs from April 2012."

A further reason for the EPC redesign is to support the Government’s Green Deal initiative when it is introduced in October 2012. Under Green Deal, landlords and homeowners will be able to access finance to pay for the costs of energy efficiency improvements, which will be paid back through savings on lower fuel bills. Green Deal customers will incur no costs because the expected energy bill savings will offset the costs of the Green Deal improvements. The new EPC will provide clear signposting to the Green Deal and will indicate which recommendations could be funded through the Green Deal.