Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are now required for all commercial buildings whenever built, rented or sold.
The certificate records how energy efficient a property is as a building and provides A-G ratings. These are similar to the labels now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.
They are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.
An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures (such as low and zero carbon generating systems) to improve the energy rating. Each recommendation is assessed against the potential impact over three payback periods in addition to other measures based on an understanding of the building and indicates whether the impact is High, Medium or Low.
The certificate is important because nearly 50 per cent of the UK's energy consumption and carbon emissions arise from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively minor changes in energy performance and the way we use each building will have a significant effect in reducing energy consumption.
If you sell or rent a building without an EPC you could be liable to a fine imposed by Trading Standards.