Understanding Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) When Buying or Selling Property

When entering the property market, whether buying or selling, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a crucial document that often gets overlooked amidst the general excitement of property transactions. In this article, we will delve into the details of a typical EPC, explaining what it is, its importance, and how it can influence your property decisions.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate is a standardised document that provides an overview of the energy efficiency of a property. It ranks the property on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for ten years from the date of issue. The EPC not only gives a current energy efficiency rating but also suggests the potential rating the property could achieve with certain improvements.

The Components of an EPC

A typical EPC includes several key sections:

Energy Efficiency Rating

This part of the certificate visualises the current and potential energy efficiency ratings on a colour-coded scale, from green (most efficient) to red (least efficient). This provides a clear, at-a-glance understanding of where the property stands in terms of energy performance.

Estimated Energy Costs

This section offers a forecast of the property’s energy costs over a three-year period, providing both current and potential figures. It’s a valuable insight into how energy-efficient upgrades could translate into cost savings.


One of the most actionable parts of the EPC, this section details suggested improvements (like adding insulation or upgrading the heating system) that could enhance the property’s energy efficiency. Each recommendation includes estimated costs, potential savings, and the improved energy efficiency rating that could be achieved.

Environmental Impact

This component assesses the property’s impact on the environment through CO2 emissions, again providing current and potential ratings. Lowering the property’s carbon footprint not only contributes to environmental sustainability but can also improve the property’s appeal to eco-conscious buyers.

Why EPCs are Important

Legal Requirement

In the UK, it is a legal requirement to have a valid EPC available to potential buyers or tenants when selling or letting a property. Failing to provide an EPC can result in penalties, highlighting its importance in the property transaction process.

Informed Decision-Making

For buyers, the EPC offers a glimpse into the future costs of owning the property, factoring in energy bills. It can influence the decision-making process, potentially affecting the offer price or the buyer’s interest in proceeding with the purchase.

Property Value

Properties with higher energy efficiency ratings can command higher prices and attract more interest, as they promise lower running costs and a smaller environmental footprint. For sellers, investing in recommended improvements could lead to a quicker sale at a better price.

Environmental Responsibility

Beyond the legal and financial implications, EPCs play a crucial role in the broader context of environmental sustainability. By encouraging energy-efficient properties, EPCs contribute to the national goal of reducing carbon emissions and combatting climate change.

How to Obtain an EPC

If you’re selling a property and need to obtain an EPC, you must contact an accredited domestic energy assessor. They will assess the property, which usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and complexity of the property.

Whether you’re preparing to sell your property or in the market for a new home, understanding the Energy Performance Certificate is essential. Not only does it comply with legal requirements, but it also offers valuable insights into the property’s energy efficiency, potential cost savings, and environmental impact.

At Newton Fallowell, we’re committed to guiding you through every step of your property journey, ensuring you’re well-informed and equipped to make the best decisions. If you’re looking for expert advice on EPCs, or need assistance with buying, selling, or letting a property, our team is here to help. Contact us today to discover how we can support your buying or selling journey.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For the most current regulations and detailed information on Energy Performance Certificates, please visit the official government website at https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates.