The Future Importance of the EPC

As you will more than likely know, the Energy Performance Certificate is an integral element of the UK property market. Its importance has come to the fore of late, as the government pushes to meet green energy targets on the route to its self-imposed carbon-zero deadline of 2050.

Every time a property is built, sold, or rented it requires an Energy Performance Certificate before it comes to market. The EPC will contain information about a property’s typical energy costs and energy usage. The EPC ranges from an A rating, which is the most desirable and represents a highly energy-efficient property, to a G rating which is least efficient. All EPCs are valid for 10 years before they need to be renewed.

As a vehicle to promote energy-efficient properties, the EPC has attracted some attention lately in the form of two unique initiatives. These include a green buy-to-let mortgage product and a property portal that is driven by a ‘green’ filter to search by EPC ratings.

Green Buy-to-Let Mortgages

A new collection of ‘green’ buy-to-let mortgage products have entered the market from providers Paragon Bank and Foundation Home Loans. They will enable landlords who have decided to purchase a property with an EPC rating of A, B or C to access exclusive rates for their buy-to-let properties, in a bid to encourage more energy-efficient homes.

A more energy-efficient property represents a better investment opportunity to landlords and sounder rental accommodation, as lower carbon emissions brought about by a better heated and insulated property ensure it is cheaper to run. This can even increase its value.

Commercial Director of Foundation Home Loans, commented, “The better the EPC rating, the bigger the mortgage discount, and our aim is to help meet the needs of landlords who want a more energy-efficient property portfolio.”

Green Property Filter

A free-to-list property portal called Residential People has launched an exclusive ‘green’ property filter on their website which allows people to search for and sort properties by their EPC rating.

This new ‘Energy Efficiency Class’ filter enables buyers and users in the rental market to search for properties based on their Energy Efficiency rating as set out in the property’s EPC. This allows them to find properties that are cheaper to run, enabling them to factor in energy savings into their house hunt.

This is useful as most property search portals only display the EPC on the property page rather than as an actual search function.

Christopher May, the portal director says: “During the pandemic, we have all spent more time indoors than we’d normally do and as such, many of us are finding that our energy bills are subsequently skyrocketing as a result.”

"Improving the energy efficiency of homes is essential to achieving the carbon emission reduction target that the UK has set for the 2030s and 2050. The EPC is currently used for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) within the PRS sector, and the remit of the EPC will expand over the coming years for similar and increasing standards in this sector and in the owner-occupied sectors, so stakeholders and consumers need to have access to data and tools to better understand their assets.

Forward-thinking initiatives such as those introduced by Residential People, and Paragon and Foundation Home Loans are warmly welcomed. EPCs play a key role in helping homeowners and property purchasers identify the most energy-efficient properties, as well as the most cost-effective measures that they can take to improve the EPC rating of a property. It is therefore essential that our industry continuously improves the EPC, the underlying methodologies and the access to data, via the government EPC Action Plan, to ensure that these are fit for future purposes." - Andrew Parkin, Director of Energy Certification