Energy Performance Certificates to be Made Publicly Available – 1 February 2011

Information contained in properties’ Energy Performance Certificates will be made available to the general public under plans announced by the Government this week. Companies offering home energy-efficiency upgrades will be able to access information about properties from their Energy Performance Certificates and deliver tailored advice to individual homes.

Grimsby Energy Performance Certificate provider Colin Childs from says: "At the moment it is a criminal offence that carries a fine up to £5,000, to obtain the contents of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) if you are not entitled to do so. An EPC must be produced whenever a building is sold, constructed or rented out and the EPC is currently only to be used in connection with a decision to buy or rent the building. The Government’s planned changes will provide businesses with address-level information that would enable them to market their services and target specific households."

The Government has said that the public availability and use of information from EPCs will be subject to the most rigorous safeguards, protected by tough data-protection rules and any homeowners and tenants who don’t want to be approached by organisations will be able to opt out. The Government justifies the changes by claiming that increasing access for the general public to useful environmental data should increase awareness among the general public of the energy efficiency of homes and commercial buildings. It would also enable individuals to check the energy efficiency of individual buildings.

"An EPC contains the address of a property, its energy rating, recommendations to improve its energy efficiency and details of the energy assessor who produced the assessment," says Colin. "No information about the identity of the homeowner or tenants is available from the EPC. In the future, it is planned for the EPC also to contain details of any finance attached to the property under a new ’Green Deal’ scheme to be introduced by the Government in 2012."