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Why home buyers need an energy assessment

At the moment, energy efficiency and doing your bit for the environment is at the top of many peoples’ lists. Not only can going green help to reduce your carbon footprint, but it can also mean you end up saving money throughout the year, which is certainly what the majority of people want to hear during these tough economic times.

If you’re planning on buying a property, it’s vital that you make sure an energy assessment has been conducted in order to ascertain how energy efficient your potential home will be. Not only does it make sense to view the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that the existing homeowners will get following this assessment, but it’s actually a legal requirement that they arrange for one.

What is an energy assessment?

An energy assessment is required by law for any new buildings that are to be sold or rented, and will provide you with an EPC that will tell you all about the energy efficiency of the property. An EPC informs potential house buyers about how expensive a building would be to run, based on the existing gas and/or electricity fixtures in the property.

Luckily, EPCs are valid for 10 years, and so you won’t have to worry about getting another one conducted anytime soon should you choose to later sell or lease your property.

How do EPCs work?

EPCs have been designed to be as self-explanatory as possible, to make understanding them all the more easier. A sliding rating scale is used to show how energy efficient your building is, with letters A —G used to represent efficiency. A rating of ‘A’ shows that the property has very low running costs thanks to its energy efficient measures, whereas a property with a ‘G’ rating will have much higher costs.

The majority of homes in the UK sit around the ‘D’ level, which shows that they have average energy efficiency. However, if you want to make your home more efficient, an EPC will provide recommendations on improvements that can be made which you can carry out.

For example, in addition to the sliding rating scale, an EPC will provide you with estimated:

  • Energy usage
  • Fuel expenses
  • Carbon dioxide emissions

Along with this, it will also detail the assessor’s contact details and a point of contact should you have any complaints about the EPC.

How can I obtain an EPC?

If you’re buying a property, it’s actually the person selling the building’s responsibility to arrange for the energy assessment. Only an accredited assessor, such as Aldrock Chartered Surveyors & Energy Assessors, can conduct energy assessments. Once the assessment has been carried out, the existing owners will be provided with an EPC that you can view.

What are my legal obligations if I’m selling my property?

If you’re going to sell your home, you’ll need to get an energy assessment conducted, but you aren’t legally obliged to improve your home’s energy efficiency. However, carrying out the recommendations detailed within your EPC can make your home more attractive to buyers that are on the hunt for energy efficient properties.

Are there any instances where an EPC isn’t required?

In some circumstances, those selling their home won’t need to obtain an EPC. For example, if any of the following applies to the house you’re looking to buy or your circumstances, there most likely won’t be an EPC available as it isn’t a legal requirement to obtain one:

  • You’ll only be using the property for less than two years
  • The floor space of the property is less than 50 sq m
  • It’s a listed building
  • You’re only intending on using the building for less than four months in a year

Energy assessments and EPCs can help home buyers to understand how much they’ll end up spending on their energy expenses throughout the year, and they can be an excellent indication of how efficient your potential home will be. If you want to make sure you purchase a property that won’t make your carbon footprint larger, it makes sense to take a look at the EPC before making any commitments.

Do you need to have an energy assessment carried out? Aldrock Chartered Surveyors & Energy Assessors can provide you with an assessment and an EPC — simply call 01254 503200 now to find out more.

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Home energy efficiency
  • 1st July 2014