Energy Performance Certificate FAQ's

Below is a list of frequently asked questions we have compiled relating to EPC's in Scotland.

What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?

An EPC is a document which indicates the energy efficiency of a building as identified from analyses and information available about the building. Carbon dioxide (CO2) ratings are shown as bandings from A to G, with A being the least polluting and G the most polluting.

Why do we need Energy Performance Certificates in Scotland?

Climate change is becoming an increasing concern, both in the UK and worldwide.

Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, one of the main causes of climate change, have risen by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution and are now rising faster than ever before. This has led to rising temperatures and some quite significant environmental changes some of which are listed below:

  • Ice Caps retreating.
  • Arctic Sea Ice has thinned by 40%.
  • Global mean sea level rising at an average 1-2mm a year.
  • Global Snow cover decreased by 10% since 1960’s.
  • “El Nino” events more frequent and intense
  • Weather related economic losses increased 10 fold over last 40 years.
(Source: UK Government “Energy White Paper” Feb 2003)

In terms of CO2 emissions, buildings are the biggest offenders in the UK, with domestic homes contributing more greenhouse gases than other buildings. Up to a third of all CO2 emissions from the UK are from domestic homes where the rest is made up from commercial and public buildings.

In the light of these and other emission related concerns, the Government has committed to a target of a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Scotland, as part of the UK along with all other EU member states is obliged to promote energy performance improvements for new and existing buildings under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) .

Making a building more energy efficient through improvements in heating systems, insulation and air conditioning units will lead to a reduction in energy consumption and in CO2 emissions.

How is the Energy Performance band calculated?

The certificate addresses the amount of CO2 which is estimated to be released from the building under normal circumstances. The performance of the building is benchmarked against current building standards and recommended cost effective improvements.

Who needs an EPC in Scotland?

EPCs are required when commercial or domestic properties are built, sold or rented. This means that sellers require them for private sales and landlords need to provide them to prospective tenants.

  • Residential Landlords - Since 1st October 2008, it has been mandatory for landlords to make EPCs available to NEW tenants as part of the lettings process
  • Home Owners / Sellers - an EPC is a mandatory part of the Home Information Pack which enables sellers to market their property for sale. The EPC is also required by European Law and so will continue to be mandatory for all homes even if Hips' are altered or abolished in the future

When is an EPC not required?

The following types of property are all exempt from the process:

  • Lease renewals, lease restructuring (unless the floor is modified or the space refurbished) or surrendering.
  • CPOs – Compulsory Purchase Orders
  • Buildings that are less than 50m2 in size – those that are temporary structures or where evidence can be provided that the building is set for demolition

Of course, taking steps to reduce your environmental impact and energy costs is not just for people selling their home, although they are the only properties that require this by law. You may want to explore how you can make your home more environmentally friendly and cheaper to run even if you have no plans to move.

When does an EPC have to be produced?

An EPC has to be produced for all properties which are sold or rented after 4th January 2009.

Do all rented property tenants require an EPC by 4th January 2009?

No. All tenants who rent a property on or after 4 January 2009 must be provided with an EPC.

What does the 'Energy Efficiency Rating' on an Energy Performance Certificate mean?

This shows the energy efficiency of the building at time of Energy Performance certificate completion and the efficiency if the cost effective measures were implemented in future. This is based on the information about the building as opposed to the way in which it is used.

What does the Environmental Impact (CO2) rating on the EPC show?

This shows the current level of CO2 emissions from the building and the emissions in future (potential emission level) if the cost effective measures were to be introduced.

Is completion of the recommended 'cost effective improvements' mandatory?

No, but you may wish to give serious consideration to these recommended improvements as they will have the result of reducing the CO2 emissions generated, reducing the amount of energy used, and importantly they could also save you money.

How long is the EPC valid?

The certificate must be fixed to the dwelling and will be valid for a period of 10 years.

Do I need to renew the EPC after 10 years?

Yes, but only if you sell or rent out the property after the 10 year period has lapsed. The same EPC can be passed to subsequent tenants if it has been produced by a member of a protocol organisation within this 10 year period.