Guide to Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Find out more about energy performance certificates, how much they cost and how to get one.

What is an EPC?

An EPC, or Energy Performance Certificate, shows how energy-efficient a property is. A higher rating means the energy bills for that house or flat are likely to be lower.

By law, an EPC is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented. In Scotland, the certificate also needs to be displayed somewhere in the property – such as in the meter cupboard or next to the boiler.


An EPC gives information about a property’s energy use and how much this is likely to cost over the next three years. It also suggests ways to reduce energy use in order to save money.

The certificate looks similar to the multicoloured stickers you find on new appliances. It’s scored out of 100 and gives a rating from A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient and G being the least energy-efficient.

Newer properties tend to have better EPC ratings than older ones.

What information is shown in an EPC?

Energy Performance Certificates may look slightly different depending on when they were issued and whether they’re for a property in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

However, they all contain the same sections and information:

  • Key facts about the property, such as the address and dwelling type.
  • The date of the assessment and the date of issue for the certificate itself.
  • The estimated energy costs for a three-year period (including lighting, heating and hot water).
  • Parts of the home where energy efficiency could be improved.
  • The current and potential energy efficiency rating for the property in question.
  • A summary of the property’s energy performance features.
  • Parts of the property that release little or no carbon.
  • Information about the government’s Green Deal scheme.
  • The property’s heat demand.

Energy costs

An EPC report begins with estimates of the property’s current and potential energy bills. If you’re looking at a property with a view to buying it, always ask to see the EPC before making an offer. Similarly, if you’re wanting to rent a property, an EPC will give you an idea of how much your bills could be.

The EPC covers costs for

  • Lighting 
  • Heating 
  • Hot water. 
Be aware that EPCs don’t cover the typical costs for home appliances such as:
  • Washing machines
  • Tumble dryers
  • TVs
  • Ovens
  • Fridges.

Energy efficiency rating

Next, there’s a visual comparison of the property’s current energy performance. This is where the EPC is similar to the energy labels on home appliances, with different ratings represented by a multicoloured bar chart.

As well as the current rating, the property’s potential EPC rating is also indicated on the chart. This helps you see what rating you could achieve if you carried out suggested improvements.

The property’s energy-efficiency is scored out of 100, with the total number of points corresponding to an overall rating from A (most energy-efficient) to G (least energy-efficient).

Multicoloured bar chart showing energy rating score out of 100. A: 92 – 100, B: 81 – 91, C: 69 – 80, D: 55 – 68, E: 39 – 54, F: 21 – 38, G: 1 – 20

The average EPC rating in England and Wales is D, with an average score of 60.

Actions to take

Below the EPC rating, you’ll find a list of recommended measures you could take to improve the property’s energy-efficiency. To the right, you’ll be able to see the estimated cost of each measure, the savings it could bring.



The next page features a description of each element of the property that has a bearing on its overall energy-efficiency, with a rating out of five stars for each one.

For instance, it will tell you the level of glazing on the windows, whether the walls have cavity insulation, and how the property is heated – such as by mains gas with a boiler and radiators.

If you’re looking to rent or buy, this table is useful for comparing the different properties you’re viewing. It can also give you an idea of additional costs you may need to consider if you’re buying a particular property.

Heat demand

This table looks at how much energy is needed to heat the property in kWh per year. It also shows how much you could reduce this through any or all of the following:

  • Loft insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Solid wall insulation.



This is probably the most important section of the Energy Performance Certificate. It breaks down in detail the measures that are recommended to improve the property’s energy-efficiency.

These are listed in order of priority, with estimated costs and potential annual savings listed alongside each one, as well as what the EPC rating would be after they’re carried out. You’ll also be able to see if these recommendations are available on Green Deal finance.

Watch our video to find out more about how to improve your EPC rating.

How and why to improve your EPC video.

How to get an EPC and what it involves

It’s a legal requirement to get an EPC before you can either sell or rent out your property. If you don’t have one you could be fined.

You need to make sure you have an EPC available to potential buyers or renters as soon as you start marketing your property.

EPCs are issued by accredited energy assessors who visit the property to carry out an inspection. You can find a local assessor and book an assessment online.


The assessment will include taking a measured survey and some photographs. The assessor will work out the EPC rating by looking at lots of different elements of the property, including:

  • Its age, size and the material it’s built from
  • Its main source of heating and heat controls such as thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
  • Other heat sources, including renewable energy sources
  • Insulation – if there’s cavity wall insulation or loft insulation installed
  • Windows – if these are single-, double-, or triple-glazed
  • Lighting – the number of low-energy or energy saving light bulbs in use.

Energy performance certificate assessors will need to access all the rooms in your property, including the attic. They will probably ask questions about the construction of the property, including whether any additional work has been done since you moved in.

What does an Energy Performance Certificate cost?

There isn’t a set price for an Energy Performance Certificate. The cost of an EPC will vary by assessor, as well as the size, type and location of the property being assessed. As a guide, you can expect to pay between £60 and £120.


How long does an EPC survey take?

In terms of the EPC assessment itself, it tends to take less than an hour. This will depend on the size of the property though, so it’s worth asking how long it will take when you’re booking it in. It will then probably take a few days for the report to be prepared.

Source:  Uswitch, July 2023

An EPC remains valid for 10 years from the date when it was first issued.

Checking your rating using the EPC register

Before you decide to get an EPC, make sure you check if your property already has one. Remember that EPCs are valid for 10 years.

If you’re in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, use the government’s service to check you have an existing EPC.

If you’re in Scotland, there’s a different way to check for energy certificates.

Should you reconsider buying a property if it has a poor EPC rating?

The EPC rating should definitely play a part when deciding whether or not to buy a property.

If it’s pretty bad, but you love other aspects of the home, you could always apply a bit of elbow grease and make improvements (if you can afford them).

Improving the energy efficiency of your home could also be a great way to potentially add value.

Remember – EPCs do not take into account the number of people living in the property at the time, and EPC assessors don’t go into great depth. This means the EPC rating they come up with will usually be the worst-case scenario.

With this in mind, as long as the potential energy efficiency rating is good enough, and you’re able to make some improvements, there’s no reason you shouldn’t invest. Unless, of course, something better comes along.


  • Can I do my own energy performance certificate?

    No, only accredited assessors can issue an EPC. If you’re selling or renting out a property you may be offered the service through an estate or letting agent, but it could cost more than organising it yourself.

    I’m renting out a room in my home – do I still need an updated EPC?

    No, as a resident landlord you don’t need an updated EPC.

    I only bought my home a few years ago, but I’m about to sell my property, do I need a new one?

    Not if it’s still valid – an EPC is valid for 10 years.

    I’m about to buy/rent a new home – do I need to pay for an EPC?

    No. As a buyer or renter you should never have to pay for an EPC yourself – the seller or landlord should do that for you.

    How much value does an EPC add to my property?

    Your EPC rating may not directly add value to your home, but you will need an energy rating certificate if you want to sell your property. It’s also worth bearing in mind that potential buyers may see a more energy-efficient home as a better prospect.

    Does a smart meter improve EPC ratings?

    A smart meter won’t improve your EPC rating, but these meters do make homeowners and tenants more aware of their energy usage, so could help in the long term.

    Is it illegal to rent a property without an EPC?

    Yes, it is. Since 1 October 2008, the law has stated that any building which has been constructed, marketed for sale or to tenants for rent must have a valid energy rating certificate.

    What’s MEES?

    MEES stands for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard. It came into force on 1 April 2018 and set new energy efficiency regulations for private rented properties throughout the UK.

    It’s designed to highlight low standards of energy efficiency in properties in a bid to get landlords to take measures to improve them. This means the lowest rating your home can achieve and still be rented out is an ‘E’ rating. If it’s rated ‘F’ or ‘G’, in most cases it’s now illegal to rent it out and you’ll need to make improvements if you wish to do so. You will never need to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) on energy efficiency improvements.

    If you can’t improve your property to EPC E for £3,500 or less, you should make all the improvements which can be made up to that amount, then register an ‘all improvements made’ exemption. For more information look at the government guidance.