Government targets inefficient homes using EPC results – 24 July 2009

The Government plans to give the Energy Saving Trust (EST) access to the information contained in domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) so that they can identify and target the least energy efficient households. The EST will use the information to write to all the lowest rated households pointing them towards the help available in their area. In a further change, the Government plans to allow public access to the non-domestic register of EPCs in order to see whether a commercial building has an EPC.

All buildings that are newly built, sold or rented out are required by law to have an EPC. This analyses how energy efficient they are, provides a rating from A to G and offers recommendations on improving energy efficiency. ''EPCs are stored on Government registers and are currently available only to those with access to the EPC's unique reference number,'' explains Lincolnshire Energy Assessor Colin Childs from ''The Government plans to make EPCs more accessible so that the valuable information they contain can be used by the EST to target those in the least energy efficient properties (rated F and G) with help to improve them.''

In a similar move, the Government intended to give the Carbon Trust access to the register of commercial EPCs in order to help promote energy efficiency in the commercial and voluntary sector. However, this measure has been delayed as Colin explains: ''Despite the Government's assurances that strict safeguards would prevent data being passed on or used for purposes not previously agreed, the Government's consultation on these proposals provoked a number of responses about the need for adequate data protection. Consequently, the Government has decided to develop more specific proposals for legislation in the Spring.''

Allowing public access to the commercial register of EPCs would enable potential buyers and tenants to browse the register by address so that they can see immediately whether a given building has an EPC. Colin says ''To protect confidentiality, the Government intends that the public would not be able to access the EPCs from the commercial register; they would just be able to see at a glance which properties already had EPCs. Potential buyers and tenants would then be able to request the EPCs from sellers and prospective landlords at the very start of the transaction process.''