Energy Performance Certificates in Buildings - Citizens Advice response to Call for Evidence from BEIS and MHCLG
EPCs provide an methodology that can effectively assess and compare the energy performance of most homes. The design of the certificate itself is intuitive and relatively easily understood by consumers.
However, there are many areas where they should be improved. EPC scores can be too unreliable. Valuable data collected during the EPC assessment process is not routinely shared with the consumer. Some of the worst performing homes are exempt from the having an EPC at all.
The call for evidence provides a good opportunity to assess the current evidence on EPCs and options for how they can improve in future. It comes at a key time, given the expanding role of the EPC, particularly in relation to the energy efficiency standards for rental properties.
Given this context, we welcome many of the suggested improvements in the consultation. Improvements we consider particularly important are:
Giving consumers full access to the data used to create their EPC. Ideally this would be linked to other property-specific data through the data warehouse.
Updated research into the reliability of EPC assessments, and steps to improve quality assurance processes if reliability is continuing to fall short.
Using the EPC to provide information on the improvement measures required to meet government targets in the long run.
Requiring Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) to have an EPC when part of the property is let out
Although consumer awareness of EPCs is high, so far there is limited evidence that they are driving consumers to install energy efficiency measures. EPCs could be part of an effective framework to deliver consumer action on energy efficiency, but are unlikely to deliver behaviour change in isolation.