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EPCs are required whenever a building is constructed or marketed for sale or rent.
The EPC records the energy efficiency of a property, providing a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building on a scale from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.
EPCs are produced using standard methods with standard 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, and occupiers to see and compare information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from a building, so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment decision
An EPC should always be accompanied by a recommendation report listing cost effective and other measures (such as low and zero carbon generating systems) to improve the energy rating of the building. The EPC also contains information about the rating that could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.
For homes, two ratings are shown, the current rating and the potential rating. The actual energy-efficiency rating is a measure of a home's overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the home is, the lower the associated carbon emissions are and the lower fuel bills are likely to be.
The energy efficiency rating is based on the performance of the building itself and its services (such as heating and lighting), rather than the domestic appliances within it. The certificate also lists the potential rating indicating what can be achieved if all the cost-effective measures were installed.
Ratings will vary according to the age, location, size and condition of the building. The potential rating on the certificate will take these factors into account, and the suggested measures will be tailored so that they are realistic for the particular building.
Also shown on the EPC is a benchmark rating for an average home in Northern Ireland, again for comparison purposes.