Energy Performance Certificates

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) show potential home buyers or tenants how energy efficient the building is. The EPC contains information on potential energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions. A coloured chart represents how energy efficient the building is, or could be, similar to those used on household electrical appliances.

Energy ratings

Buildings are rated from A, meaning very efficient and coloured green on the chart to G, meaning inefficient and coloured red on the chart; properties with a higher rating are likely to have lower fuel bills.

The law

EPCs are needed whenever a property is:

  • built
  • marketed for sale or rent

Not having an EPC could lead to enforcement action from district councils, who are the enforcing authority in Northern Ireland, and the issuing of a penalty charge notice.

Each EPC is valid for 10 years and can be used multiple times during that period. An EPC can only be produced by an accredited energy assessor who will visit the property to carry out an assessment.

A copy of the EPC is lodged on a national register and this can be accessed via the EPC search facility on the register at the link below. It will be publicly available and some of the underlying data may be shared with others for the monitoring and compliance of the EPB regulations. The Government may use some of this data for research or statistical purposes.

Compare energy efficiency

As EPCs are produced using standard information about buildings, it enables prospective buyers and tenants to easily see and compare the energy efficiency of all properties they are considering and how much it may cost to heat and light a building before they enter into a contract.

Improve energy efficiency

The EPC also indicates how energy efficient the property could be if some improvements are carried out such as replacing lighting with low energy bulbs or upgrading insulation. Each EPC is accompanied by a report that will set out the cost effective measures that homeowners or businesses can take to improve the energy efficiency and energy rating of their property.

Responsibilities

If you are selling your building or renting it out to a new tenant it is your responsibility as the owner or landlord to make sure you have an EPC, to make it available to potential buyers or tenants and finally, you must give a copy to the new owner when you sell the building.

If you are buying or thinking of renting a property from a landlord, the EPC should be made available to you at no cost. Should you choose to buy the property, you will be given a copy by the seller that you can reuse if you sell or rent out the building within the EPC’s period of validity.

Advice

For advice on EPCs or if an EPC has not been made available to you as a buyer or new tenant, contact your local district council building control

For more information on the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations or to download guidance on EPCs you can visit the Department of Finance website. The website has introduced a new search facility which allows you to search for an EPC by postcode.

You can also search the Northern Ireland Register to find an accredited energy assessor.

More useful links

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