Energy Performance of Buildings

Energy Performance Certificates

An energy performance certificate (EPC) is an energy labelling system which has been introduced to measure the overall energy efficiency of buildings.

An EPC provides a rating A to G for the energy performance of a building.

The ratings are set against standard criteria to enable one building to be compared with another of a similar type.

“A” is a high energy efficient building and “G” being a low energy efficient building. 

An EPC is required before a building is placed on the market for sale, placed on the market for rental, when a building is newly constructed, an existing building undergoes major renovations or when an existing building goes under such works that change the number of building units within the building.

There is a requirement on the building owner to have an EPC for their property when it is required. Before a building is made available for sale or rent, the relevant person must ensure that an EPC is issued for their building. The relevant person or a person acting on his behalf (eg estate agent) shall show, free of charge, a valid EPC to any prospective buyer or tenant when the prospective buyer or tenant first makes an enquiry about a building. A copy of the EPC must also be handed over by the relevant person, free of charge, whenever the building is sold, rented or when works are completed.

There is no requirement to provide an EPC where a building is to be sold or rented out where the relevant person can show that following the sale or rental, the building is to be demolished or subject to a major renovation or he believes on reasonable grounds that the prospective buyer or tenant of the building intends to demolish the building or undertake a major renovation of the building. Although once the new owner carries out the renovation works or builds a new building then the new owner must provide an EPC.

There is a requirement where a building or building unit is offered for sale or rent that the relevant person, or where a person is acting on his behalf that person, shall ensure that the energy performance indicator of the building as expressed in the EPC is stated in any advertisement for sale or rent of the building in any commercial media. The energy performance indicator is the EPC bar graph.

There is a responsibility on the occupier of any non-domestic building which is frequently visited by the public and is over 500m2 to display an EPC if an EPC has been issued for that building as a requirement under the regulations.

An EPC is valid for ten years and can only be produced by a competent and accredited energy assessor, for details of energy assessors in your area check local press or visit the Northern Ireland EPC Register website

The following types of buildings are exempt under EPB legislation, and do not require an EPC:

  • Places of worship;
  • Temporary buildings with a planned lifetime of less than two years;
  • Industrial sites or workshops;
  • Non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand;
  • Stand-alone buildings with a useful floor area of less than 50m² which are not dwellings.

When you must display one

You must display an EPC by fixing it to your commercial building if all these apply:

  • the total useful floor area is over 500 square meters
  • the building is frequently visited by the public
  • an EPC has already been produced for the building’s sale, rental or construction