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Complete Overhaul of EPCs demanded by key consumer body

An influential consumer body is demanding a complete overhaul of Energy Performance Certificates.

Which? says that with millions of households across the UK concerned about how to keep their homes warm in winter and worried about high energy bills, an EPC should be a valuable source of information; and as the UK nears its target to reach Net Zero in 2050, EPCs should be an important tool.

Yet Which? claims that a recent government survey showed that only 36% of the UK population know or have a sense of what their EPC rating is, and only 29% of those that were aware of their EPC said they had seen the section with advice on how to improve their rating. 


“There is now considerable evidence that too many EPCs do not provide an accurate assessment of the energy efficiency of a home, the metrics that are used are confusing for consumers, and there is a need to provide new information that would support consumers in the decisions they need to make. The presentation of EPCs also needs to be improved to make them more accessible and useful to consumers” adds Which?

The consumer body goes on to say that for EPCs to be effective in supporting consumers, they will need to have relevant, accessible and accurate information and advice. 

Therefore Which? has produced a series of demands for wholesale reform.

- EPCs should have more than one headline or primary metric in order to support consumers’ understanding of energy use in the property and the choices they can make. The choice of metrics should be tested with consumers, but could include the property’s energy use, its cost, the heating system and the environmental impact;

- EPCs should include more information to support consumers in the transition from fossil fuel heating to new low carbon heating systems including the environmental impact of their current heating system and when it is likely to need updating; the ability of the building and heating system to benefit from flexible tariffs; the ability of the building to generate energy through solar thermal or PV panels; and information about potential heat networks, drawn from the Local Energy Action Plans that all councils are now required to develop;

- The advice in an EPC should be relevant to the type of property and provide an accessible gateway to sources of further information and advice;

- The EPC should link to a Building Passport or Log Book that contains more detailed information about the building and plans. 

Which? also wants much improved accessibility for EPC data, through apps and online services, more frequently updated certificates, and non-digital versions should be available for those unable to access digital information.

In addition, Which? makes these demands:

- Promote high standards amongst assessors by reviewing the training requirements for Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs), improving the auditing of EPCs and making it easier for consumers to review assessors and access a complaint process;

- The new software model, called Home Energy Model that will be used to generate EPC ratings should include location data and be regularly updated with data about new heating technologies and models;

- EPCs should be kept up to date by requiring that every property that is sold or let has an EPC that is less than five years old and introducing a simplified process for consumers to update their EPC when they have had insulation or heating work done by a certified installer;

- The transition to using actual performance data should be supported by requiring a staged increase in the use of sensors in government and ECO funded programmes and when new heating systems are installed. 

  • Tom Tangney

    Perhaps Which? should consult with DEA's to get their thoughts on pricing before making suggestions on how to increase their workload? Currently the work required by a DEA is not reflected in the fees they can charge, not helped by various websites quoting as little as £34 and even then some customers refuse to pay. It is therefore hardly surprising there will be errors and corners cut by some DEA's who will try and do as many in a day they can just to earn enough to pay the lodgement fees and other expenses such as travel and parking.

  • Ian Mumford

    Improving EPCs is great but how do you fill the gap where a property has not been sold or rented for more than 10 years ? There are still millions of houses that have never had an EPC.


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