Energy Performance Certificates Not Performing – 1 March 2011

Energy Performance Certificates that should help people cut their energy bills are having no influence on four out of five homebuyers who see them. Consumer Focus, the consumer watchdog, carried out a survey to find out how useful prospective buyers and tenants found the certificates. Four out of five people who had received an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when buying or renting had not acted on any of its recommendations to make their new home more energy efficient and save money.

Grimsby EPC provider Colin Childs from said: "Landlords and homeowners are legally required to provide an EPC when selling or letting a home. The EPC indicates to buyers or tenants how much it will cost to provide lighting, heating and hot water to a home. Whilst energy efficiency is something we all know we should care about, it’s not the highest priority when choosing a property to buy or rent. Cost, size and location remain the main decision factors."

The survey found that only one in five people who received an EPC said it had any influence on their decision to buy or rent the property and they very rarely used the EPC to negotiate the sale or rental price. After finding the right size home at the right price, just one in seven people said energy efficiency then mattered most in selecting a home. However, after moving into the property, one in six people did act on the recommendations in the EPC.

Mr Childs said: "The Government introduced EPCs to provide information about the energy efficiency of buildings and advice about measures to improve their energy performance because buildings account for almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions. The Government recently consulted on a number of measures to improve the effectiveness of EPCs but this survey shows that there is a long way to go to increase awareness and motivation among landlords and homeowners."