Energy Performance Certificates. Legislation Requirement in Belfast, Northern Ireland

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What are the EPCs? 

EPCs, also known as Energy Performance Certificates, are certificates of rating that indicate how energy efficient your home or property is. The EPC rating of properties has been in Belfast, Northern Ireland since 2008. The EPC gives a property a grade of A to G depending on the evaluation of the assessor. 

What is the legislative background of EPCs?

The legislative history of EPCs started when it was introduced in England and Wales in 2007. It was intended to be a part of Home Information Packs or HIPs for local properties consisting of 4 or more bedrooms. In May 2010, HIPs were removed but the requirement for EPCs remained. The EPCs are valid for 10 years from the moment they are issued and they show prospective buyers or tenants the annual energy costs of a building.  

What is the procedure for producing an EPC?

The procedure for producing an EPC can be easily understood. The first step is the actual house survey. The assessor will go to the site and inspect the property. He will take photographic evidence of front and rear elevation, wall insulation, loft insulation, boiler, radiators, window glazing and lighting. Secondly, the results will be entered into a software system that will eventually produce the energy efficiency of the property. The software used by the assessor will determine a single figure result, which is the grade from A to G. In the same report, there will be a list of computer-generated recommendations produced by the software.

What does a Domestic EPC contain?

A typical Domestic EPC will contain the property address at the very top right hand side together with the assessment date, the serial number of the certificate, the property type, and the date of inspection. The total floor area will consist of the size of internal walls and stairwells, excluding porches, garages, and balconies. This total area pertains only to the total space within the external walls of the building or house. 

In terms of the A to G scale, the energy performance certificates talk about how efficient the property is. The highest grade is A while the lowest is G. Most of the buildings and homes that are energy efficient have ratings around D or C. They are the ones with low fuel bills and emitting less carbon dioxide. If your property’s energy rating is F or G, you should consider all improvement options.

In the last part of the certificate, you will see the recommendations on how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home. Thus, it will tell you how much money you can save if you follow the recommendations. The accuracy of the suggestions in the EPC depends on how the property was assessed. The landlord or the seller of the property are not legally obliged to carry out any of the recommendations for improvement that are mentioned in the report. 

If you are a landlord or homeowner in Belfast and need an Energy Performance Certificate for your property or for any advice related to EPCs in Belfast you can contact epc4less.

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