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Blog: Why is the EPC so important to commercial property owners? By Matt Skinner, PropertySales.com1st March 2013

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a short report on the energy efficiency of a building and on how it can be improved. Updated EPCs are legally required when the construction of a building is finished, when a building is being sold, when a unit is being let and when new commercial units are created in an existing building. 

One of the purposes of the Energy Performance Certificate is to ensure that potential tenants and purchasers have information on building energy performance. It's also a way for the government to encourage the owners of existing property to improve their buildings' energy efficiency so that the UK can meet its targets for lowering green house gas emissions. A building owner can face a £5,000 fine if they do not make the certificate available to potential buyers and tenants. 

Energy Performance Certificates are required throughout the UK thanks to the European Union’s 2002 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the program is administered by the UK government, while in Scotland, it’s administered by the devolved government. Both the UK and Scotland have web sites with information on the certificates.

An EPC uses a bar graph to show the building’s energy rating, which is rated from A, best to G, worst. It reports on building characteristics, such as window glazing, boiler efficiency and amount of insulation, which impact on the building’s efficiency. It also gives suggestions for improvement. 

Most commercial buildings require EPCs, but there are a few exceptions. For example, an EPC is not required when a lease is simply being extended. They’re not required for temporary buildings, for detached buildings of less than 50 sq m or for buildings that are due to be demolished. Non-residential agricultural buildings and other buildings that aren’t normally heated and cooled don’t require certificates, nor do listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas. Churches and other places of worship are also exempted.

While most buildings being sold or rented require that an EPC and report be available for review, some buildings must have an abbreviated certificate on display in a public area. You have no doubt noticed these certificates in the lobbies of public buildings. They’re called Display Energy Certificates (DECs), and they are required for buildings of over 1,000 sq m, which contain publicly accessible government offices or services. For example, DECs are displayed in libraries, schools, hospitals and post offices.

If you need an EPC for your building or commercial unit, then you can find an approved or accredited commercial energy assessor for England or Wales on the Landmark Information Group web page. There’s a separate Landmark page for Northern Ireland. The Scottish government also posts a list of assessors. 

It’s a good idea to have your building or unit assessed well in advance of sale. The content of the report can help you to improve the energy rating before you sell. However, to avoid having the certificate re-done, you may prefer to improve the energy efficiency of your building before ordering the assessment. For example, you might update the heating and cooling systems, increase the level of insulation, or replace the windows with double glazed units. 

About the author

Matt Skinner, Content Editor,

Matt Skinner is a journalist and Content Editor for, a leading directory of commercial property for sale from Dynamis, the online media group. Matt also writes for other titles in the Dynamis stable, including, and, as well as being an occasional contributor to, Talk Business magazine and Start Your Business Magazine.

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