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EPCs are often wrong and need major overhaul - Which?

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. 

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  • icon

    Not sure where LandlordToday gets this headline from because I've found both the domestic and commercial EPCs for the properties I own to be very accurate and reflect the performance of the buildings.


    He’s off again. You must be the only one because I have evidence to the contrary. EPCs are inaccurate, ignored by tenants and a joke in some of their recommendations. Spend £5000 to save £10 a year as one example. 🤣

    Richard LeFrak

    Gibbo, clue is in the headline. Got it from Which?


    Peter, Gibbo will never lose faith in EPCs. The whole world could say they were wrong and he would still insist they were fine. 🤪 Sad really.😉

  • icon

    I'd agree EPCs are wildly inaccurate and give absolutely no indication what the utility bills will be like.

    Simply changing assessor can give a result at least 10 points different (in either direction).
    An estate agents assessor made one of mine F25. My regular assessor made it G14. Both times it had single glazing, no heating, no insulation and the only source of hot water was from the electric shower. How exactly can there be an 11 point discrepancy when it has approximately nothing that would give it any points?

    Another one failed to spot cavity wall insulation so when it was reassessed it miraculously went from a low E to a high D.

    They routinely fail to acknowledge roof or underfloor insulation exists. Even if Building Control certificates and receipts for insulation are presented they come up with ridiculous excuses about why they have to put "assumed none". If you can't provide a photo of a tradesperson holding a tape measure next to the insulation while it's being installed they won't believe it exists. Even then they try saying there's no proof the photo was taken of that job.

    If EPCs were an indication of how much utility bills would be maybe they could have a purpose. Simple fact is there is no correlation between EPC score and heating bill. My house is A93 and it costs more to heat than a 1950s house which is C71. The temperature is lower in my house than in the other one and it's occupied for fewer weeks a year. The main difference is orientation. Mine is East West. The other one is North South. The principle rooms get a lot of sun whereas my house doesn't.

  • Getting out  Landlord

    EPCS should come with a valid warning that they are only a guide to the efficency of the property.

    Not all surveyors collect and input data correctly. So human error is rife.
    Most build dates are wrong for starters. You only need to look at the build date on some streets and surveyors estimates are all different!
    So often they are incorrect from page 1.

    The UK housing stock is far too varied for a one fit Approach to the current algorithms and therefore the EPCs are not overly accurate. Hence should only be used as a guide.

    You cannot base calculations on cost of Energy without consumption and how a property is currently lived in and used.

    This is a known fact and why they haven't as yet managed to launch the new systems.

    Untill a government changes policy and also gives clear guidelines to Energy efficiency then it's pointless in most cases.

    Landlords will continue to hold off as they cannot afford to select the incorrect form of investment ie a heatsource pump system if it then regarded as not so efficient in a years time and ends up a white elephant.

    The EPC should just show what a property is made from and what is has in terms of Energy efficient means.

    With an link to an ever changing website with the latest Energy efficient products that could enhance it to gain better graded efficiency overall.
    Not just show massive investment for a poor return. Give some real cost effective changes to make it clear and easy to implement and cost out.

    EPCs should be a guide only document to support or report on, not hard based certification.

  • John  Adams

    Which? Have perfectly demonstrated why the system is unworkable, and adding all these additional criteria will significantly raise the cost for something that people simply have next to no interest in.

    Even the existing system is too complicated and illogical giving no clear way of working out which improvements will give you the best rating for your money.

    We can only hope the Which? Recommendations are kicked into the long grass otherwise I can see this nonsense turned into an Annual assessment.


    I agree John. Just another way to have a bash at the PRS.

  • Matthew Payne

    EPC data should ideally be digitised, not a static reference in a pdf that lasts 10 years, and be included with the properties UPRN or log book as they will become. First need to make the grading, guidance and training fit for purpose and have a reset. A huge number of exisitng EPCs arent worth the paper they are written on.

  • icon

    EPCs are a joke!


    But we are not laughing.

  • icon

    Matthew. Please stop its digital academics & digitisation that is the root cause of everything that wrong wish housing or we wouldn’t have all this nonsense because people would actually have to do a real job not an administrative invented pretend job to live off our backs & pay themselves £100k pa. Whether they be the non-housing know everything about nothing Organisations, pretend Charity Organisations like Shelter, Citizens Advice, Generation Rent, Councils, Regulators, HMo’s, Double C/tax , Accreditation Schemes, Redress nonsense etc doing max damage to Private Sector housing, Tenants & the Homeless. Digitalisation caused all this & more before which none of those issues existed did they ? So put down your iPhone, iPad or Mac / laptop and take up a real job instead of inventing fake jobs causing problems.


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