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Why should you improve your home’s EPC rating?

You could lower your energy bills and save money by improving your home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.

What is an EPC rating?

An EPC measures how energy-efficient your property is, rating it from A (extremely efficient) to G (least efficient). 

The certificate shows:

  • The amount of energy your home uses (typical spend on heating, lighting and hot water)
  • The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) your home produces
  • Any energy-saving features you have, such as double glazing or insulation
  • Ways you could improve the rating
  • How much money you could save by making these improvements

What is the recommended EPC rating for a property?

The average energy efficiency rating for a home in England and Wales is band D, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

By law, since 2018, domestic rental properties in England and Wales must have an EPC rating of E

However, the Climate Change Committee recommends all privately rented homes should be rated a minimum of C by 2028, and owner-occupied homes should also reach an EPC of at least band C by 2035.

Benefits of improving your home’s EPC rating

1. You could save money on your energy bills

The higher your EPC rating, the lower your energy bills are likely to be. Less energy is wasted and what you do use goes further. For example, energy-efficient properties retain heat better, so it could cost you less to keep your home warm and comfortable.

2. It could reduce your home's carbon footprint

According to the Office for National Statistics, more than a quarter of UK emissions come from households.

Using less energy in the home could reduce the building’s impact on the environment.

CO2 emissions for existing homes in England and Wales were more than twice as high as those for new homes, which are typically more energy-efficient. 

3. It could make your home more attractive to buyers

A higher EPC rating and lower energy bills could make a property more attractive to prospective buyers, if you ever were to sell the property. 

Keep in mind – potential buyers may find it difficult to get a mortgage on a property with a low EPC rating, which could make it harder to sell.

4. It can help landlords and landladies meet EPC regulations

If you let a property, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe and comfortable home for your tenants. Improving your property’s EPC rating helps you meet rising energy efficiency standards and could lower your tenant’s energy bills. 

You’re also more likely to attract and maintain tenants as you improve the property.

How do you get an EPC?

An EPC is typically needed whenever a property is built, sold, or rented. 

EPCs are valid for 10 years, so your home may already have one. You can find out if your property has a valid EPC on the government register. 

If your property doesn’t have an EPC or it has expired, you need to have it assessed to get a new energy certificate. If you’re renting, it’s the property owner's responsibility to provide one.

Keep in mind that not all homes need an EPC, including certain listed buildings. If you’re in the process of buying a property, the seller must show you the EPC.

How much does an EPC cost?

An EPC can cost between £35 and £120, depending on the size of your home and other factors. It’s worth comparing quotes from a few registered energy assessors in your area to find the best price.  

Visit GOV.UK to find out more.

How to improve your EPC rating

Here are a few things you can do to raise your EPC rating:

  • Use LED lights instead of traditional light bulbs
  • Draft-proof unwanted gaps around windows and doors
  • Insulate the loft, cavity walls, hot water tank and pipes
  • Replace old or faulty appliances with new, more energy-efficient ones
  • Where relevant, make sure you have the paperwork to show the energy assessor you've completed the work, in case they can’t see it for themselves

If you can afford to, you could consider generating your own power through heat pumps or solar panels as a form of renewable energy.